Yet another high-end Indian restaurant to hit Mayfair, and more specifically Maddox Street. First came Bombay Bustle, which took the site of Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus, and Lucknow 49 has also just opened a few metres further down the road.
The restaurant marks a return to Mayfair for Atul Kochhar, who left Benares, the restaurant he launched in 2002, last year. This time around he’s teamed up with Tina English, former commercial director at Cinnamon Club.
The pair are looking to bring the cuisine of north east India to the capital, which Kochhar says has hitherto been unexplored. Thus Kanishka serves cuisine from the seven sister states of India - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura - with its food reflecting the mixed culture of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism in the region as well as the influence of the bordering countries of China, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh. As such, dishes typically use less spices as well as ingredients such as soy sauce, mustard oil, bamboo shoots, fermented vegetables and pickled fish, with starters including Tibetan guinea fowl thupka - a noodle and meat soup with coriander and green onion; and Lahasa inspired lamb and chilli stir fry with grilled bok choi; while mains feature dishes such as banana leaf steamed seabass; and Sikkimese duck - roasted Gressingham duck breast with smoked tomato crush, potato chokka and crispy poha. Alongside a la carte, the restaurant offers a six-course tasting menu (£69, £120 with wine pairing) as well as set menu for lunch and early and late dinner (7:30pm–18:30pm and 21:30pm onwards) of two courses for £24 and three for £29.
Kanishka is located in the former 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen site and has retained some of the feel of its former restaurant, with a bar central to the ground floor dining room. With its blue and chrome interior the restaurant has more of a roaring 1920s London feel than an Indian restaurant of this era, but fits nicely into the Mayfair set nonetheless.
And another thing:
Kochhar and English have ideas for more restaurants, with plans already afoot to open a second Indian restaurant in central London in the coming months. The name and exact location is yet to be revealed, but it will serve a different cuisine to that at Kanishka.
17–19 Maddox Street, Mayfair
This is a web version of an article that first appeared in the April issue of Restaurant magazine, the leading title for the UK's restaurant industry. For more features, comment, interviews and in-depth analysis of the restaurant sector subscribe to Restaurant magazine here.