FACT Review: Is Gymkhana the world's most innovative Indian restaurant?

FACT Review: Is Gymkhana the world's most innovative Indian restaurant?



We visit the MICHELIN Starred restaurant in London, ahead of its grand opening in Via Riyadh.

If you want to make someone jealous, then say these three words: “I’m visiting Gymkhana”. Whenever I told people I had a reservation at the restaurant, I got exactly the same response: “Take me”. I visited the OG in London, ahead of its opening in Via Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Spoiler alert: it is one of the most innovative Indian restaurants in the world. 

Gymkhana opened in 2013, and is now ten years old. I visited when it first opened, and it was already the talk of the town. So, it came as no surprise when it won a MICHELIN Star. In 2021, it came to Riyadh Season as a pop-up. In 2023, it returned to Riyadh and is the brand’s first international outpost.


In London, Gymkhana is situated in the sophisticated Mayfair. The unassuming entrance includes a dark green façade. When we arrived, we were greeted by smiling staff and the smell of curry. The concept is inspired by the colonial era’s gymkhana clubs, where an elite crowd would eat, drink and play sports.

Gymkhana’s décor makes you feel like you are stepping into a bygone era. The blinds hide the new world outdoors, so you can admire the old world indoors. The venue is adorned with black and white photos of cricket clubs, deer heads, fringed lamps and wooden ceiling fans. Oh, and even old-school bathrooms – no, not squatting toilets, but cast-iron toilet cisterns. 


Book a booth for added privacy, as some tables are so-close-you-can-hear-your-neighbour. We sat in a brown banquette, and there was plenty of place for our plates – embossed with the Gymkhana logo, no less. The attention to detail even extended to the playlist, which included a sitar version of The Beatles’ And I Love Her. 

We opted for the five-course Tasting Menu, which showcased Gymkhana’s greatest hits. The friendly staff showed us how to eat the dishes, as some were creative takes on classics. And between each course, the restaurant filled with a diverse crowd, from birthdays to business groups. 


We started with the Aloo Chat, which had a crispy texture and sweet yet spicy flavour. The Khatta Meetha Baingan turned the humble aubergine into a classy, creamy concoction. The Chicken Butter Masala drew inspiration from the Dehli chef’s background, and it tasted like a British Chicken Tikka Masala.  

The mains were return-worthy good. Make sure you order a biriyani – cooked in a pastry case, the lid was lifted and revealed a richer taste. The Wild Muntjac Biriyani was oh-so smoky. The Kid Goat Methi Keema has filled paragraphs, posts and #pictures – and deservedly so – as it’s an unexpected delight. The dish combined splendour and simplicity, as we were given a soft, slow-cooked meat and buttery brioche bun. 


Gymkhana’s drinks menu was an ode to India. The selection ranged from the Albemarle Sling with vodka, tamarind and Madeira, to the Count Cavendish take on a Negroni. Plus, the menu included Indian beer, whisky, and a mango as well as salty lassi. 

Few dining concepts have captured fans across the world, from A-listers like David Beckham to Taylor Swift, and from foodies to FACT. So, whether you’re in London or Riyadh, don’t suffer from FOMO – visit Gymkhana.

GO: Visit https://gymkhanalondon.com/ for more information.