What: An upmarket Indian restaurant on Mayfair’s equally upmarket Maddox Street. On the former site of Dhruv Mittal's Lucknow 49, Manthan offers a relatively tight menu of small plates alongside a creative cocktail list.
Who: High profile Indian chef Rohit Ghai. He knows Mayfair’s Indian scene having launched a number of high profile restaurants in the area for other people, not least Bombay Bustle, which is moments away. The chef - who has also overseen the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Gymkhana and Jamavar - struck out on his own in 2018 with the launch of Kutir in Chelsea. Manthan is being billed as a move back into more casual territory but is in reality quite a high-end affair.
The vibe: Lucknow 49 rustic look has been replaced with a much more luxe interior. “You have to consider your location, and if you’re expecting a high-end clientele in your place you have to make it look luxurious,” he explains. “We’re a neighbour to Versace and we want to attract those customers.”
The food: Ghai has gone down the small plates route at Manthan, which takes its name from a word that means to churn or reflect. Key dishes on the restaurant’s launch menu include goat shami kebab in bone marrow sauce; aloo paratha; Burford Brown egg curry; tawe ki masala arbi (grilled root vegetables); pyaz ki kachori (a fried pastry filled with a spicy onion filling) served with mint and tamarind chutney; curry leaf pepper fish; Jaffna lamb (a Sri Lankan spice mix); and andhra jackfruit dosai. Alongside a la carte, Manthan also offers regular and vegetarian ‘Experience’ tasting menus priced at £50 and £45 respectively for five courses. As you’d expect from a chef with Ghai’s experience, the cooking and the flavours are on point.
To drink: The liquid side of the business leads with a large selection of cocktails that include Parijata (gin, rose water, vanilla and pomegranate juice); Menaka (wild hibiscus-infused mezcal, Madagascar vanilla, Orinoco bitters with London Essence white peach and jasmine soda); and mango and date bellini. There’s also a focus on G&Ts, with five varieties to choose from all made with spirits from Notting Hill-based distillery Portobello Road. These are offered alongside a relatively tight selection of wines, with prices for still wine starting at a little under £30 a bottle and rising to £725 for a Grand Cru Burgundy.
And another thing: Ghai has a lot on his plate at the moment. His debut cookbook Tarkari ‘Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Dishes with Heart and Soul’ is about to hit the shelves and, earlier this year, it was announced that the chef has partnered with Qatar-based hospitality group Fork & Knife to head up Indian fine dining restaurant IKSHA 360 in Doha, although he will remain based in London.