So my love of food is ridiculous and once a year or so, my husband and I splash out and go to a fancy restaurant. This year we decided to go for my birthday and we were torn between award winning Japanese restaurant ROKA or Michelin Star Indian Restaurant Gymkhana. Having heard lots about ROKA this was the safer bet, so naturally we decided to take a risk and go to Gymkhana.
Until about the age of 18 I was the fussiest eater and my heart bleeds at all the delicious meals I missed out on by not trying new foods. After meeting my husband my culinary palate has expanded from Nandos Lemon and Herb to Nandos extra hot. Coming from Uganda, our traditional meals aren’t particularly spicy so I just wasn’t used to HOT food. It made my lips and mouth burn, so I always played it safe. My parents always added hot sauce to their meals (big up Encona West Indian hot sauce) but I was a spice wimp. But I tried my mother-in-laws spicy Jollof rice (a nigerian dish) – it would be rude not too- and the flavors were so delicious I pushed through the burn and I haven’t looked back!
So back to Gymkhana…the week before my birthday we tried to book a table but obviously they were fully booked so we were added to a waiting list and booked ROKA instead. I am so indecisive that things are often lastminute.com as I always worry that I will make the wrong choice. ROKA has 5 branches in London so it was a little easier booking a table. 2 days before a table had opened up so we were now going to Gymkhana.
When trying somewhere new, if money permits I think it is a great idea to do the tasting menu if the choices work for you, as you get to try a range of things. I eat more or less everything so it usually works for me. We opted for the tasting menu at Gymkhana which was 7 courses for £65 or £120 with wine per person. We chose the wine pairings. On entering there were 4 staff at the reception giving a somewhat frosty reception. Yes we have a reservation, yes we have enough money to pay for the meal, please seat me and feed me. We were led downstairs to our table. I love the decor of this place. It’s dark wood, leather seats, indian rug and a deer head (not real I hope) on the wall. It is what I imagine, an expensive members only club would look like with old men swirling whiskey and wiping crumbs off their beards with £50 notes (because that is clearly what happens in places liked that). The dim lighting wasn’t picture friendly (their normal cliental probably doesn’t take food pics or selfies) but alas I tried so please excuse the bad quality.
The food was flavoursome, moreish and each wine tasted better than the last (naturally). My favourite dishes were the Potato Chat Chickpeas and the Achari stone bass tikka and my least favourite was the quail kebab, it just has a very strange texture. Apart from that I couldn’t fault any of the courses.
Sometimes, with tasting menus, you get a smearing of food on each plate, but there was so much food, that we could barely eat the final course before desert. We were tipsy and extremely full by the time we left. I have never tried Indian food like this before and if anyone knows a cheaper alternative let me know as although as my stomach craves another trip my wallet says ‘Nah Fam’.