Jamavar London - described as The Culinary Jewel of the Leela has come to Mayfair. When I heard this restaurant was coming to London, I had to make a reservation. I remember staying at the Leela Palace & Resort in Goa on my first trip to India as a little girl and having such fond memories. Most recently having stayed and eaten in the Delhi restaurant & hotel, I was keen to see how London would fare. Head Chef Rohit Ghai heads up the kitchen, with his vast experience as executive chef for JKS restaurant group.
Joining the likes of Gymkhana and Benares the location of the restaurant is competitive. Smaller than I thought, the regal and opulent decor was impressive. The interior as described, takes reference from the Viceroy's residence in Delhi. Intricate patterns, marble panels and dark timber accented with colours from Jamavar (intricate woven shawls from India) and brass. Lots of work and craft has gone into the interior design and I especially loved the intricate work and design around the bar.
We were greeted by a friendly hostess and taken to our table. I did feel a little disappointed with how close together the tables were, especially having booked so far in advance. The chairs themselves were not particularly comfortable either, so I didn't feel particularly relaxed.
We were given the cocktail menu and chose the Grenadiers - Sipsmith Gin, coconut oil, mango, coriander puree and lime. I liked the fact they had a unique selection of cocktails, as it felt like they gave the cocktail menu some thought.
For starters we chose Chandni Chowk Ki Aloo Tikki, Malabaar Prawns, Adraki Lamb Chops and Tulsi Chicken from the Tandoor.
The Aloo Tikki was delicious, packed full of flavour but simple (which is a good thing!) and was the perfect balance of spice and flavour combined with the tangy tamarind chutney and honey yoghurt. The Malabaar Prawns were absolutely delicious. Bursting with spice, flavour and cooked to perfection. Both dishes from the Tandoor were melt in your mouth and I didn't want them to end. If you go to Jamavar you must order them!
For our main meal we ordered the Old Delhi Butter Chicken and Dhungar Dal with a selection of breads. The breads vary daily, which is a nice touch. The mains came much quicker than the starters and I must say overall I was slightly disappointed with the Old Delhi Butter Chicken. I genuinely felt like it lacked the pizazz and flavour I was expecting. Yes it was rich, buttery and decadent no doubt but I had higher expectations. Dal was delicious and tastes just like it did in India.
Service at Jamavar was impeccable and could not be faulted. Each member of the team went out of their way to ensure our evening was a good one.
Overall it is a premium restaurant with premium prices but if you are looking at an upscale Indian restaurant - it definitely delivers and I would say one of the best in London. It felt more authentic then some others in the same calibre and the starters were some of the best I have ever eaten at an Indian restaurant.
Kalotys Kitchen rating: 4/5