Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Benares, London

12a Berkeley Square House
Berkeley Square
London, W1J 6BS


Benares is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant in Berkley Square, run by Atul Kotcher, who you may have seen on tv in such programs as the Great British Menu.

The restaurant itself is comfortably lit with the tables well spaced. It's not too noisy, so holding a conversation is fairly relaxed.

This was another TopTable deal, three courses for £30 from a special menu. As the menus are restricted to two or three choices (or a single one if, like me, you do not eat meat or fish) it gives you the chance to try dishes that maybe you wouldn't choose from the menu normally.

For starters my choice was a tomato and goats cheese salad. Not something I would have normally chosen, and it was really quite surprising. What arrived on the plate was pretty much a Caprese Salad, except that it had goat's cheese instead of mozzarella. On first taste it tasted like a Caprese Salad too, but then very subtle Indian flavours started to appear that were fantastic. I've never had anything like it, it was quite amazing.

For main course, I had a red rice pumpkin risotto. Once again this had a sort of Italian/Indian flavour to it. The texture was just like a risotto, but it was nicely flavoured with Indian spices. Dessert was a panna cotta, which was perfectly set and had a really delicate flavour.

To accompany the meal, we had a complimentary glass of house wine, coffee and petit fours. We also matched wines from the wine list to the meals, which had he effect of doubling our bill. But we didn't mind, the sommelier picked some good wines which matched the food perfectly.
If you don't go silly on the wines like us, then this Toptable offer is great. Even if you do, then the food is still good value. The food at Benares is lovely, the service spot on and the surroundings are very pleasant.