Jamie Ndah heads to Benares in the heart of Mayfair, which offers a unique and inquisitive Indian cuisine with a British modern twist.
Benares is a sophisticated, Michelin-starred Indian restaurant located on the iconic Berkeley Square in Mayfair. It’s a short walk from Green Park station and boasts neighbours such as Rolls Royce, Bentley and the legendary private members club Annabel’s, to name but a few residents.
Spearheaded by the accomplished chef and TV personality Atul Kochhar, the cuisine served is a unique fusion of contemporary Indian dishes with a British twist. Kochhar’s rare talent as a twice Michelin starred chef has certainly altered the way diners perceive and experience Indian cuisine. I was looking forward to sampling the acclaimed Indian fusion menu and discovering all it had to offer. A warm welcome and Namaste greeted me as I entered the inviting reception area before negotiating the ornate marble staircase to the bar and main dining area.
Softly deemed lighting, an alluring water feature filled with candles and flowers and comfortable velour chairs emphasised a very intimate look and feel with this stylish outpost. As I browsed through the cocktail menu, it was evident to see the inspiration from Atul Kochhar’s avant-garde cooking style jumping off the page with drink creations such as the Passion Fruit Chutney Martini and the Green Spice Martini. I opted for the lush and totally refreshing Coconut & Pineapple Lassi which was blissful.
The spacious dining area caters for 120 covers comfortably with more than enough room for guests to manoeuvre amongst tables. For those who prefer a little more privacy, there are four excellent private dining room areas to choose from that range in size and style for that all-important special occasion.
I had now been shown to my table within the main dining area which consists of refined white walls, soft spotlighting and dark deluxe woods. My waiter for the evening was Jose who was polite and personable and kindly guided me through the tasting menu that I had chosen to try.
Exploring the tantalising tasting menu whilst enjoying the delightful mini-poppadoms certainly began to whet my appetite. The poppadoms were exceedingly moreish and came with a selection of three tasty chutneys, which I had to tear myself away from after a little while. This indeed was a good sign and a positive start to the evening.