Gymkhana was recently voted 2014 Restaurant of the Year by the UK National Restaurant Awards. Whether or not it lives up to that lofty title is up for debate. However, that shouldn't deter from the fact that this was one of the most satisfying meals we've had in London to date.
The restaurant is inspired by its namesake - an Anglo-Indian term referring to a colonial-era place of assembly or sports club. As such, it's only appropriate that both the restaurant interiors and the food inventively blend Indian and British influences. The interior design references British Raj-era India with dark wood floor to ceiling. As far as restaurants in Mayfair go, Gymkhana felt fairly unpretentious and inviting. However, that might just be because we were there for lunch.
We chose the prix fix 3 course meal. At £25, it's a total steal given how much food you get. The duck egg bhurji with lobster was my favorite dish. While the analogy doesn't do it justice, an egg bhurji is similar to scrambled eggs but with infinitely more flavor. Another highlight was the kid goat methi keema. The minced meat dish is served with soft buns (pao) on the side. You also have the option to add bheja, which the waiter informed me was brain. I guess I wasn't feeling that adventurous, so I opted out of this option. In addition to the prix fix courses, we ordered South Indian fried chicken wings as an extra appetizer. They were perfectly fried and paired with tomato chutney sauce on the side. We think Padma Lakshmi (of Top Chef fame) agreed. Sitting one table away, we could see the food envy in her eyes as she subsequently ordered a serving for herself.
In a city that is saturated with amazing (and not-so-amazing) Indian restaurants, it's refreshing to find a place with a new, unique perspective. Now we just can't wait to head back for dinner and try out the wild game menu.