On 6 June 2019, the Michelin-starred restaurant Gymkhana was engulfed by fire, devastating the Mayfair property. Now the restaurant – inspired by the elite gymkhana clubs of India, where members socialise, dine, drink and play sport – has risen from the ashes and reopens its doors to diners this week.
Samuel Hosker, design director for JKS Restaurants group, has conjured a luxurious interior mixing British and Indian design references. The ground-floor dining room fuses leather with cane-work seats inspired by Pierre Jeanneret’s classic Chandigarh chairs, while downstairs in the lower-ground-floor restaurant the mood switches to dark and decadent. Here, intimate lighting sets the tone for rich woods and red leather seating under a scarlet panelled ceiling, while original Gymkhana objets – from hunting trophies said to have come from the Maharaja of Jodhpur to lamps from Jaipur – are scattered throughout the spaces.
Executive chef Jitin Joshi heads the kitchen with cuisine highlighting tandoor-oven roasts and seasonal curries. His new à la carte menu includes dishes such as dosa (a type of crispy pancake) with Chettinad duck and coconut chutney (£12.50) and kid-goat methi keema (a spicy curry) served with salli (potato sticks) and pao (a type of bread), priced £13. Meanwhile, the five-course Venison Feast menu (£90; wine pairing is an additional £95) includes delights such as venison boti sula kebab, and there’s a “Hunters” alternative (£90; wine pairing £70) focusing on fare like game-bird baida roti (egg roll) served with gur (a type of cane sugar) and girolle (mushroom) pickle. Those popping in for lunch can expect two- and three-course menus, priced from £27.50.
New cocktails have been created to whet the appetite, including a Peach Blow Fizz (£14), blending green mango with Tanqueray gin, frozen yoghurt, egg white and soda, while the House Martini (£14) is a nod to the original dirty martini with an Indian twist – an olive-brine poppadom.