We bring you the best places to eat during office hours around London’s busy working hubs. This week, Jamavar, 8 Mount Street, W1K 3NF.
WHAT? Jamavar, named after a type of Kashmiri shawl, is a metropolitan fine-dining restaurant with a focus on authentic Indian flavours.
WHERE? Located in the heart of Mayfair, Jamavar matches the finesse of the surrounding restaurants with a subtle exterior that only hints at the grandiose restaurant within. Inspired by the Viceroy’s house in New Delhi, the main dining room combines intricate pattern-work with vibrant colours to frame the signature brass-work and bespoke Ganjifa artwork.
Downstairs has an altogether moodier ambience intended to conjure the atmosphere of an Indian summer’s night – you might need a torch if you struggle in dim lighting. The private dining room, known as the Safire Room, is small with blue pastel walls and a large, bright window that leads onto a garden terrace.
WHO? It’s the first British venture by Indian luxury giant Leela Hotel Group. The kitchen is headed up by acclaimed Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai, who has worked across the Sethi family’s restaurants including Gymkhana and Trishna; the tasting plates are inspired by his travels in India.
ORDER THIS... The menu is versatile and covers a wide range of Indian dishes, from north to south. Meals begin with popadoms and baked plantain served with chutneys, including a delicious sticky mango relish. If you prefer to save yourself for the main course, the Malai stone bass tikki is small and delicately spiced, well-balanced with an avocado chutney. Also try the samosa mutter chat (a vegetarian option), a generously proportioned starter consisting of crisp pastry and a richly spiced vegetable filling.
For mains the Old Delhi butter chicken is as rich as its name suggests, with lashings of bright saffron and the intense aroma of melted butter. The lamb biryani comes out of the kitchen wearing a pastry hat. Delicately spiced, the fatty and flavoursome meat with cumin-dusted rice makes for a comforting, if mild, concoction.
Desserts include a bright combination of sorbets in three experimental flavours: basil, passionfruit and chili, and mixed berries with cardamom; it’s a great way to cleanse the palate following the curry dishes. I’d warn against the rhubarb kulfi, which is overly sweet and lacks bite.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? There’s a small private dining room at the rear of the restaurant overlooking the garden, which seats up to eight guests – an ideal space for entertaining. For larger parties, the lower-ground floor can be converted into a semi-private space and includes the use of the exclusive subterranean bar.
NEED TO BOOK? Definitely. Jamavar takes bookings online at its website, jamavarrestaurants.com and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 02074991800 for general reservations. If you prefer private dining email email@example.com
THE VERDICT... Jamavar is well set to compete with Mayfair’s more established dining spots. Few restaurants will transport you so quickly to the heart of India, and it’s another fine addition to the area’s burgeoning Indian fine dining scene.
ONE MORE THING... Try a glass of Indian Sauvignon Blanc fresh from Bangalore – the bitter-sweet flavour compliments the spice of the food, helping to cool your tongue.