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The American A selection of the Sunday Brunch

12a Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BS

www.benaresrestaurant.com

BENARES A

ll you can eat, all day Michelindian Sunday Brunch for £45 pp, including a glass of sparkling wine or a lassi. The food is divine, the wine list stunning and the service impeccable. At the moment, my number one recommendation. Atul Kochhar was the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star and Benares represents his second. I’m sure it won’t be his last. His brilliance lies in his use of spice. Always intricate, always balanced and always packed with flavor. His brunch is over 20 small dishes served in 4 courses and you can have more of anything, just for the asking. If you can! I wanted more of everything, but I couldn’t. I was tempted to just sit there until I could! The first nine dishes are hors d’oeuvres. Small bites of heaven. Spicy potato in a toasted bun, steamed gram flour cake, spiced fish salad… The only dish evocative of a “western” brunch was the Anda

Masala Omelette. Oddly enough, it was also the only dish that lacked wow factor. Everything else made me stop, savor and relish. Pickled prawns with root vegetables was the first stand-out. A beautiful take on traditional English potted shrimp; sweet, savory and spicy. Tandoori grilled broccoli with Paneer Tikka, the Indian version of cottage cheese, was another favorite. Perhaps the best broccoli ever. For the third course, four small pots appeared on the table along with nan, rice, dal, raita, and a vegetable biryani. Everything was exceptional but the pinnacle was the fish dumpling curry from Kerala. Flavored with coconut milk and lemon grass, it was reminiscent of a Thai curry, but much more complex. Should I have had more of something it would have been this and I found myself lamenting the fact that I only have one stomach. For £10 pounds you can drink unlimited soft beverages and for

Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick £25 white or red wine. We chose one of each and had wonderful mango lassi and Atul’s signature Sauvignon Blanc, Nyakas Budai, Hungary, 2013. Intrigued by this wine from Hungary, I was not disappointed. Full, balanced and with just a whisper of sweetness that complimented the spicy food perfectly. By the glass it is only £6.50. A better bargain unless you are going to drink 4 glasses or more. For dessert, a lemon torte didn’t stun me as so much else did. The Indian classic ras malai, curd in sweet cream, was wonderful. A perfect bit of light sweetness to end a spicy meal. Pineapple lime sorbet and lychee kulfi (Indian ice cream) were also full of flavor. I first reviewed Benares for dinner and it became my favorite restaurant. After this it is still my favorite. Atul Kochhar has just launched The Benares Cookbook, a collection of the restaurant signature dishes.

August 2015 31

The American August 2015 Issue 746  

The leading cross-media publication for Americans in the UK - and anyone interested in American culture

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