I was recently surprised with a meal at Benares in Mayfair and because it was a surprise I hadn’t spent days looking through the menu mentally visualising what dishes I would pick (like I normally would!) so it was a nice change to not know much about a restaurant before you visit. I knew of Benares but didn’t realise it was modern, fusion Indian that is certainly different and way more refined from the usual Indian food I have eaten. My friend had rung up before hand and doubled checked there was plenty of gluten free on offer for me but once the waiter was going through the menu it was clear to see that most of it was already gluten free anyway. Best of all they even had **HAVEN’T HAD FOR 8 YEARS ALERT** freshly made gluten free naan breads! Winner!
To start we shared the Tandoori Honey Mustard Poussin with the most divine garlic mayo and spiced tomato salad. I’m not massively into really spicy food and this (plus everything else) wasn’t OTT on the hot front. We also shared a paneer dish that came with a vegetable fritter, grilled red pepper and a spinach sauce, definitely not your usual take on saag paneer! And everything was presented so well as you can see (it is Michelin Star after all).
For mains we tried the Smoked Tandoori Lamb Cutlets which came with a mini lamb curry on the side, these cutlets were seriously delicious and we both wished we had just got one portion each instead of sharing the one! Also the other dish we shared was the Roasted Barbarry Duck breast which was perfectly fine albeit quite plain tasting, abit dry and obviously no match for the amazing lamb. The gluten free naan breads were also on the dry side but I’m not complaining too much as it really has been so long since I have enjoyed a freshly made naan. (Sorry I forgot to take a photo- it got eaten too quick). They have plenty of good, gluten free sides to choose from too, we went for the Dal and the Palak Paneer.
It was my birthday so my friend had told them in advance to make sure my dessert had the standard birthday candles etc but I think a communication error meant my first dessert came sans ‘birthday’. They then realised I had meant to get a birthday treat so sent over a second dessert, never a bad thing to have two desserts! The first one was a heavenly hazelnut torte topped with a macaron and the second dessert was a panna cotta topped with fruit puree.
The price of this place means its probably one to be saved for special occasions, but it really is unique and worth a trip for something abit different. The service and gluten free knowledge was also impeccable!