Gymkhana, a London restaurant based on the Anglo-Indian joints in Delhi and Mumbai, has been voted the best in Britain. Owner Karam Sethi explains how it took the city by storm
Seven years ago, when his elder brother was named Young Venture Capitalist of the Year, chef Karam Sethi made a promise. “I told him that when I open a restaurant it will be named best in Britain,” he says. “We’ve always been competitive.” It took a while, but last week his prediction came true. Gymkhana, his uncompromising take on the restaurants of the Anglo-Indian sporting clubs of Delhi, Mumbai and beyond, was voted No 1 in the National Restaurant awards, Restaurant magazine’s annual countdown of the top 100 restaurants in the country. Not bad for a place that opened only nine months ago.
We take a seat in one of the basement snugs of the Mayfair space. So is it really the best restaurant in Britain? Sethi gives the thinnest of smiles. “No, of course not. Maybe the best restaurant that opened in 2013.” Don’t mistake this for modesty. He admits that when he heard they were on the list, he was certain they would make the top 30. “Outside of that, I would have been disappointed.” The confidence is all the more extraordinary for a man who is self-taught and who set out to break with the convention of the high-end Mayfair Indian.