12.07.2014

GYMKHANA ★

Christmas celebrations started this year with my friend Lisa at the recent Michelin starred Indian restaurant Gymkhana in Mayfair. We booked a month ago and managed to get a table on a Saturday night. We were both very excited about this dinner.

The day before I received a phone call to reconfirm my booking and they told me tables are allocated for two hours, I thought two hours might be a bit short if we were having their Tasting menu with 6 courses but I guess they know what they are doing.

We arrived there and were seated in the first part of the restaurant. Straight away the waiters gave us the menus and the wine list without explanation about dishes and spice level (and do not expect to have more details written on the menu!). We ordered their 4 course Taste of Gymkhana with pairing wine and decided to choose all the options and share everything. 
As soon as we gave our choice, papadum arrived with chutney, follow by our first glass of wine.
My friends and I thought the rhythm of the meal was quiet fast and we didn't realise that worse was yet to come. 
The sommelier brought the first glass, and she told us the name but nothing more. I thought as it was a Michelin starred restaurant I would learn a bit more about the wine, for example why they have chosen it to compliment the dish, but nothing, only the name and the country it was from.
Papadum with chutney
Papadum were slightly different than other Indian restaurants I have been to, chutney was ok but not the best I have had.

The first dish was one of our favourite dishes of the night in terms of flavour and presentation. I really liked the mix of potatoes, chickpea and spices. The yoghurt was perfect to balance the level of spice in the mouth. 
We just had the dish for few minutes on the table before the waiter came to see if he can take our plate (our dish was still half full). We told him we hadn't finished it yet. 
Potato Chat, Chickpeas, Tamarind, Sev 
Before we finished the first course our new glasses of wine arrived for the following dishes again with no details about it. Papadum were taken off the table, I had to hold the waiter back from taking it, even with a few left in the basket.
Paneer tikka was nice, I am usually not a big fan of warm corn but it balanced with the hot green sauce inside the paneer. 
Paneer Tikka, Cashew Nut, Corn Chat
Ajwani salmon tikka was a great dish, I enjoyed the texture of the fish which was really moist and not too spicy. The sauce, a basil and coriander chutney added a fresh touch to the dish.
We hadn't finished our course yet before again they asked to clear up the plate. I started to see that my friend was a bit annoyed by that and to be honest me too. We felt they were rushing us to eat. To disturb the waiter and let my friend finish her dish, I asked questions about the way the salmon was cooked. 
The sommelier arrived again to bring the new wine for our main course and we started not to be very attentive and continued our conversation as we were always disturbed by dishes arriving at a very fast rhythm or waiters trying to take them away before we even finished. We noticed the sommelier seemed annoyed by us, but we didn't really care.

Ajwani Salmon Tikka, Tulsi Chutney
Our main arrived on the table, it was mushroom methi mattar pilau and chicken butter masala. Both were nice dishes but nothing exceptional really considering we were in a Michelin starred restaurant. My local indian do a nice Chicken butter massala too and they are not rushing me to finish my plate. 
Main course were served with basmati rice, dal maharani, naan and saag paneer.
Mushroom Methi Mattar Pilau
 
Chicken Butter Masala
I was very disappointed by the saag paneer, I couldn't taste any paneer in it and spinach was very watery and there was not much spice flavour in this dish.
 Saag Paneer
 Dal Maharani
 Dal Maharani was ok but I prefer the House black daal of Dishoom restaurant. 
 Basmati Rice
Bread Basket  
Naan were ok to dip in the sauce otherwise they were a bit bland.
Again during this dish we had two requests from waiters to clear up dishes again, while we were still eating. We couldn't believe it! Once is fine, twice is ok, but it honestly happened with every dish. 
We didn't finish our main in the end.
They brought us desserts, I don't know if it was because of the bad service throughout the meal, but we didn't really touch them, just a bite to try.
Both of us didn't like it the dessert.
I really liked the wine served with the chestnut and date kheer, it was Moscato d'Asti ‘Nivole’, Michele Chiarlo, Italy, Piedmont, 2013.
Chestnut and Date Kheer
Ras Malai, Damson Chutney

When they cleared up the dessert from the table we asked for the bill straight away and they left without eating our petits fours.
 Petits fours
Overall I was very very disappointed and so was my friend. I was so excited to eat at Gymkhana as I read a lot about it (most of the review I read, people were invited to eat there).
They won a Michelin star so I thought it would be a very special place for Indian food, now I know that doesn't mean anything at all. We left the place and both thought that next time we want an Indian dinner we will just go to Dishoom. 
Two dishes were really good and special but the rest was just nice. Service was surely the worst ever and I never felt so rushed before in a restaurant. For sure service is the reason why our experience at Gymkhana was not as we were expecting and we didn't take time to enjoy the food and the wine.

5/10.
Gymkhana
42 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4JH
Twitter: @GymkhanaLondon
Gymkhana on Urbanspoon Square Meal
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