On Friday night the hubby and another of our couple friends headed to Atul Kochhar's Michelin starred Indian restaurant Benares in Berkeley Square, a short walk from Green Park tube station. The first impressions were amazing, we had a friendly welcome from the door men and had our coats and bags whisked into the cloak room before ascending the stairs to a modern and calm restaurant complete with mood lighting and water features.
As we were a little late to our reservation we decided to head straight to the main restaurant where we were seated at a roomy table for four. It was unanimous, we all decided to try the tasting menu. If you fancy this option the whole table has to opt in. There is a vegetarian tasting menu too. The menu costs £98 per person plus 12.5% service charge and you will be asked for allergies or any dislikes to ensure you enjoy the experience.
The menu begins with an amuse bouche, which consisted of sweet potato and a sweet yoghurt. I wasn't quite sure if I liked it or not as was a slightly strange combination. We also had mini poppadum's and three chutneys. The first course was a delicious concoction of pan seared scallops, broccoli couscous, cauliflower puree and pickled prawns. Everything was delicious.
The next course, which was a firm favourite of the table was a tandoor chicken tikka pie with red current and plum chutney. We were served a small pie between two people to dig in and share. This was followed by chargrilled salmon with a coconut curry leaf sauce and a Cornish crab croquette with tomato and coconut chutney. The crab was yummy but the salmon was unfortunately a little lacklustre and didn't really wow the table.
The iced sherbert was like eating a Mojito. It was a great experience and a perfect palate cleanser. To continue the gastronomic experience we had the most tender perfectly pink roasted rump of lamb as well as a tandoori lamb cutlet. The lamb two ways could not have been tastier. This was served with green beans, dal makhani, rice and the most buttery roti you could imagine. The rice, dal and roti's were unlimited should you require more. Although the small dishes were enough for us.
Dessert was a passion fruit cake and a rhubarb and pomegranate cream, which was like a lemon posset in texture but with the fruit flavours. Again, it was lovely but nothing incredible. The meal was finished with petit fours, which were a sugared jelly cube, a dark chocolate crisp and a chocolate truffle. When I compare these with the petit fours at Tamarind they don't even begin to live up to expectations.
All in all this was an incredible experience. The food was delicious, the restaurant was gorgeous and the service was second to none. We had two bottles of wine priced at £55 and £58 along with two bottles of sparkling water and the bill came to £300 per couple. I think to be honest for the price paid this was a little expensive and didn't wow me quite enough to justify what we spent. I would recommend Benares but I think it might be better and cheaper to try the a la carte options instead.