• Restaurants
  • Indian
4 Love It
© Jonathan Perugia
© Ming Tang-Evans
© Ming Tang-Evans
© Ming Tang-Evans
© Ming Tang-Evans
© Jonathan Perugia
© Ming Tang-Evans
© Ming Tang-Evans
© Ming Tang-Evans
© Ming Tang-Evans
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Gallop to Mayfair for modern Indian cooking (and punches served in medicine bottles) in a wood-panelled room that looks and feels like an Indian colonial club.

Patron-chef Karam Sethi has added a new venture to his line-up of Trishna (a suavely modern Indian restaurant in Marylebone) and Bubbledogs (Charlotte Street’s hot-dogs and fizz trendster). Gymkhana has the look and feel of an Indian colonial club with its retro ceiling fans, marble table-tops, and yesteryear photos of polo and cricket team triumphs.

Bar staff theatrically deliver Indian punches in sealed medicine bottles, accompanied by ice-filled silvery goblets. Bombay punch, a blend of arrack (rice spirit), butterscotch-like palm sugar and fragrant Darjeeling tea, is deceptively smooth and even comes with its own miniature nutmeg grater for a spot of DIY spice action.

Sethi lays on a splendid spread of modern Indian dishes based on regional masalas and marinades. Fried South Indian chicken wings, steeped in wispy gram-flour and chilli batter, pack a fiery kick, and make a tempting opener for dinner. The cutlery was redundant – even in a posh restaurant, chicken wings should forever remain finger food.

Goan pork vindaloo – slow-cooked chunks of suckling pig cheek, with vinegary red chilli-garlic masala, spiced with sweet cinnamon and pounded coriander – was outstanding.

Game lovers are well looked after with a separate menu dedicated to the likes of muntjac biriani, fried peppered partridge, and roe deer cooked with pickling spices. Tandoori-seared guinea fowl breast boasted a mellow mustardy smokiness enhanced by toasted sesame seeds – making a tasty contrast to herby potato straws tossed with tongue-tingling chopped green mangoes.

Less impressive were the Kerala-style mussels, which were let down by a cloyingly thick coconut cream masala. Although astutely seasoned with turmeric, curry leaves and popped mustard seeds, the sauce called for a lighter finish.

The ground-floor dining area is gloomy, an impression not helped by the dark-wood panelling, bottle-green leather banquettes and partitioned booths. It’s a sight more lively in the main bar downstairs where some additional dining tables are located. On our visit, the banter of well-heeled Mayfair office types unwinding at the end of the day brought welcome warmth.

The service team are clad in black but dressed for the occasion and up for a cosy chat. Unlike Gymkhana clubs in India, there’s no dress code here, but have-a-go Bollywood heroes would do well to leave their sequins and sparkles at home.


Venue name: Gymkhana
Address: 42 Albemarle Street
Opening hours: Bar Open noon-1am Mon-Sat. Restaurant Lunch served noon-2.45pm, dinner served 5.30-10.30pm Mon-Sat
Transport: Tube: Green Park tube
Price: Main courses £10-£25. Tasting menu £55. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £100

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

Little sister of Michelin-starred Trishna, opened about three years ago and probably the best and only Indian restaurant I can truly enjoy. They have also been awarded the star this year, so book early. Decor is luxe, menu and food is beautiful, excellent wine list. As always with any restaurant with a star, go for the tasting menu with wine pairing. Amazing for vegetarians as they have a full tasting menu especially designed for non meat-eaters. 

From the A La Carte Menu, enjoy the Wild Muntjac Biryani, comes cooked to perfection covered with a puff pastry. 

Definitely a treat!

Warwick W

I've been twice - the 1st time I thought it was amazing - you have to try the keema with Lambs brain and the suckling pig vindaloo (it's not that hot)

The 2nd time I was less than impressed and it was the day they were awarded a star. The restaurant wasn't particularly busy but it took 20 minutes to get served I guess we were forgotten - the people I was with ordered an aperitif that took a further 20 minutes to come, as did my beer, only to then have a leaky pewter mug full of ale on the table. When I pointed this out my beer was duly taken away and replaced, which took ages...service was not attentive at all, food took ages. Don't get me wrong the food was delicious, but the service was dire on a celebration day for the restaurant when they should have stepped up. As one of the guys at the table said, when you're paying top dollar for food, part of that is for the service... Haven't been back since :(



Staff Writer

Lucky enough to be taken here on a lunch with some old friends. What an absolute treat. Wondering if a curry for lunch might be the right thing. Upmarket Indian cuisine, all totally amazing. Pale ales to go with it. Service impeccable, staff amazing. Some slight twists on traditional dishes and a few clear inventions on the norm. Well worth a visit and repeating.


London: Gymkhana is my new number 1 for posh Indian, sorry Amaya (now no. 2). Having come from a background of top Indian home cooking, I am rather hard to please on the curry house front. This venture is by the people behind seafood Indian Trishna in Marylebone, so expectations are high. There is an old colonial India theme to the restaurant, however this is done elegantly with alluring dark wood booths, slowly rotating old ceiling fans, black and white photos of men with curly moustaches and a 1920s playlist. This place attracts the well heeled ,partly due to the location in Mayfair central but also the avid foodies. The reviews across the board have been ridiculously good. Service is helpful and unobtrusive. Time for the food, this was a spicy heavenly feast laden for the Indian gods. There is an art to presenting a curry well but Gymkhana has cracked it with immaculate, appealing dishes presented in novel ways, even Michel Roux would be impressed. To start with, the goat keema had a depth of rich meaty chilli flavour and was accompanied by little white buns to mop the residue . Chicken wings were not really wings, more little yummy chicken lollipops. Then came the crispy light dosa cone hiding a delicious duck curry. Tandoor guinea fowl was a beautiful breast of tandoori chargrilled white meat. We ordered it twice. Could this get any better ? yes, then came the 3 plump pan fried spicy wild tiger prawns with an unctuous red pepper chutney. I had to order an old school vindaloo but this was no ordinary vindaloo, rather a fiery suckling pig condensed into a dark velvety explosive curry. Sides were not just bland sides, the aubergine was a sweet rich accompaniment. Okay, I know I sound like a Marks and Spencers food advert but this is how it felt. This was a feast for the eyes and the robust belly. There were also a number of other gamey numbers such a partridge pepper fry, pheasant, deer, maybe next time. The only negative is that portions are a little meagre for the big price tag per dish, but it just means you have more room to taste more… I know when a place is a winner, when the very next day I have to book it again, to keep my spicy Indian frenzy hunger at bay. PS tables are hard to get, but go midweek for Indian game, why not indulge?