Editor's note: in October 2018 there was a change of head chef - Jitin Joshi was formerly in charge of food at the Taj Hotel in Dubai.
Gymkhana, the Mayfair sibling of Trishna, continues to prosper. Whereas Trishna focuses on seafood, Gymkhana’s menu is meatier, with a wide variety of fairly exotic dishes. Here you are more likely to find a dish using venison, wild boar or goat than you will a chicken bhuna.
The wine list is quite ambitious, with wines from as far afield as Slovenia and Croatia. Example bottles were Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2014 from Santorini at £38 for a bottle that can be found in the high street for £18, Linaje Garsea Reserva 2010 at £65 compared to a retail price of £24, and Chateau Phelan Segur 2009 at £105 for a label that will set you back £32 in a shop. The pricier wines seemed to be marked up at a similarly level to the moderate ones, with Lynch Bages Echo 2010 at £115 for a label that currently costs £35, Chateau Talbot 2009 at £145 compared to a retail price of £47, and Vega Sicilia Valbuena 2008 at £225 for a wine with a current market value of £94.
A starter of dosa (£11) looked pretty, the Chetinaad duck hidden away under the conical dosa, served with coconut chutney. The duck itself was fine though as before the dosa texture seemed rather flabby to me compared to dosas I have tried in India (13/20). Punajabi vegetable samosas (£7) were quite dry, though to be fair they came with chutney on the side; the filling could have been a bit spicier though (12/20). To me these did not compare well with those at Diwana Bhel Poori (which are about half the price).
Goat keema (minced goat) is served with little pav buns (unsweetened bread) to make into a sort of miniature burger, as you might get in a Mumbai street stall (priced here at £12.50). The meat itself was pleasant, though again seemed rather tentative on the spicing (12/20).
Wild boar vindaloo (£22) had plenty of flavour, with a dark, rich sauce, though the boar itself was just a little stringy in places (13/20). Tandoori morels (£15) were unusual and a nice idea, the mushrooms lightly spiced and having good texture (14/20). A selection basket of breads (£6.75) such as naan were pleasant.
Service was silky smooth today. The bill came to £43 a head with just water to drink. If you had three courses and shared a modest bottle of wine that a typical cost per person would be around £80. The food at Gymkhana is capable and there are some unusual and interesting dishes, but the bill always seems to me high for what arrives on the plate.
Further reviews: 23rd Oct 2013