Jamavar Restaurant Review - A Culinary Jewel of The Leela in Mayfair, London.
This is a very overdue review that I have been meaning to write up for so long and I finally finished. Its amazing how some tasks in life get unpritorised with kids. For Mr S's Birthday earlier this year we went for lunch at the then newly opened Jamavar Restaurant. Owned by the prestigious Leela Places group from India, it is part of six restaurants they run outside the Indian Sub-continent.
Having travelled around India over the last 15 years, I can say this restaurant does capture the same elegance, class and ambiance of the hotels and restaurants in some of the finest 5* hotels in India. All that is missing is a flower garland upon entry :). I love India and one of ehe big things that stands out for me when visiting is the level of service, as is similar in the rest of Asia guests are revered and nothing is ever too much trouble. For example if you go shopping and buy an Indian outfit, this will first be sent off to be finished for finer details and sizing adjustments, before being packaged beautifully and then couriered over to your home or hotel. A bit different to having to carry your own shopping bags as I am so used to.
The service at Jamavar was very reminiscent of this attention to detail and was reflected in our dining experience from the outset. Due to my baby brain, we ended up being over an hour late to the booking as I did not check for tube cancellations at the weekend, despite spending most of my week commuting on the tube. As most of the lines happened to be closed we instead choose to take a cab which inevitably meant sitting in a lot of traffic on the way into London.
The restaurant was very accommodating in being able to hold our table and still ensure we were able to enjoy all the courses in the 4 course lunch tasting menu by bringing the first two starters at the same time together so we were able to taste as much as possible.
From the outside the restaurant does not look very different to others in Mayfair with dark wood windows and curtained doors and windows, it is only once you walk through the door and heavy velvet curtain you see the opulent decor hidden away.
Big comfortable dining chairs with several booth options are available and in the centre of the room is a huge stone carved bar. The decor reminds me very much of colonial clubs during the time of the British Raj, the dark wood, natural stone and large ornate paintings hanging from panelled walls.
I do not think all restaurants need to accommodate children, this is a stunning, modern, high end Indian in the heart of Londons Mayfair. Their key cliente is not families, much more aimed at couples and groups of friends, saying that however they went out of their way to make Bubs feel like a special part of the meal. A few points to note which were not an issue for us but could be for younger children, at the time we visited they did not have any highchairs, Bubs is fine to sit in a normal chair and even all the many cuddly toys and hand puppets he took to lunch were made to feel important at the table. The bathrooms are also located in the basement with no baby changing facilities when we visited, again this was fine for us but maybe not if you have kids under 2s. In terms of food we ordered Bubs a paratha - grilled flatbreads with a thick homemade yoghurt which he throughly enjoyed, he also picked at our mains too. I believe if you are going to visit certain types of restaurants you have to be a bit flexible in what you expect in terms of baby friendly facilities, we were able to enjoy a delicious family lunch in regal surroundings but it might not be for everyone.
At lunchtime they have a great deal on, offering 4 courses for £30. A brilliant way to sample lots of different items on the menu without spending a huge amount. I thought it was great value for money for the amount of quality food you get, surroundings and service and would definitely recommend choosing this offer.
Mr S started with an Indian Beer and Bubs went for his favourite sparkling water off the menu.
|Mango and Date Lassi|
|Seekh Kebab and lentils|
|Stone Bass and Avocado Chutney|
I think this opinion also sums up the mains, very traditional dishes and flavours that have been modernised without comprising on what makes them great dishes in the first place. For example the Butter Chicken, a curry house favourite know for the mild creamy sauce was executed perfectly with soft poached chicken. As I am used to big flavours, I loved that Jamavar is true to these.
|Mains, Butter Chicken, Rice, Naan Bread, Dum Aloo and Dhal|
For desert we ended the meal with a Rhubarb Chuski Falooda, one of my all time Indian favourite deserts, this was a completely new take on it combining the very British tart taste of Rhubard with saffron, rabri (similar to dense condensed milk) and rose - all very classic Indian flavours with a delicious twist.
|Rhubarb Chuski Falooda|
The Poached Pear was cooked perfectly and balanced with a slight savoury peppercorn ice cream. The meal ended on a high with the heavenly flavours of desert.
In summary the food at Jamavar was delectable, they managed to preserve the true tastes and emotions you experience when travelling around India, whilst paying homage to more modern cooking techniques and flourishes from being located in London. For me it was perfect combination and most importantly everything tasted great, there is nothing I hate worst than mediocre food and flavours. I would highly recommend this restaurant and look forward to our return visit soon.