Benares, which first opened in 2002, is now under the helm of Executive Chef Sameer Taneja, who had previously worked here earlier in his career and is now back with shiny new exciting dishes on the menu, which I had been seeing glimpses off on Instagram and was dying to try.
I’ve been to Benares several times over the years and I love all the interiors and decor that pays homage to the holy city from which the restaurant draws its name, from the antique sculptures that greet you at the entrance to the soothing and beautiful indoor water features that represent the connection to Benares being situated on the banks of the River Ganges. I was actually lucky enough to visit Varanasi or Benares as it is known last year and it was an amazing trip.
With my family in tow to celebrate a special occasion, we arrived excitedly and were welcomed warmly and gifted a scarf each for the ladies, which was a lovely gesture.
As we were seated in the stunning and spacious dining room, complimentary glasses of champagne were brought over to our table which we were very grateful for.
As we perused the menu, we nibbled on lentil and rice flour popadoms with a spicy mixed vegetable pickle, mango and mixed berry chutney and a canapé of crunchy wheat cones stuffed with a chickpea salad. This was a real crowdpleaser and had us even more excited to try the rest of the food!
Being a group of 6 we ordered a selection of starters to share so we could try a variety of different dishes.
Paneer Tikka arrived theatrically presented in a smoky dome and the paneer was topped with Colston Bassett Stilton blue cheese and served with pickled onions and a quince murabba.
A plate of Gol Gappe were also beautifully presented with each ‘what bubble’ filled with organic sprouts and a bottle of fermented black carrot water in the centre to fill each wheat bubble with.
Himalayan Murg Momo was absolutely delicious and the perfect texture! There were three chargrilled chicken momos served with a tangy beetroot salsa and a smoked tomato chutney.
I switched to cocktails and thoroughly enjoyed the Passion Fruit Chutney Martini, a heavenly blend of
homemade passion Fruit chutney, Wyborowa Vodka, fresh lemon juice, sugar and a dash of passion fruit juice. Dangerously too easy to drink!
Finally, we all saved space for desserts as they did sound absolutely incredible and we were not disappointed.
I devoured a Peanut Butter Parfait with almond cake, a cumin marshmallow and the most amazing jaggery ice cream.
Another firm favourite and popular choice on our table was the selection of Kulfi, which went down a treat.
Paying attention the fact that it was a celebratory family dinner, the lovely staff brought over complimentary desserts with a message on each which was also a really nice touch and unexpected!
All in all we had a wonderful time. The service, food and ambience were superb. I think the food here is better than previous visits by a mile and we were delighted to have chosen Benares for our family meal.
Benares can be found at 12 Berkeley Square, London, England, W1J 6JS, United Kingdom