Fine dining Contemporary Indian Cuisine in St James's
Category : Bar, Restaurant
| Cuisine : Indian
Address : 73 St James's Street, St. James, London, SW1A 1PH, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.chutneymary.com
Opening Times : Mon-Fri: 12pm - 2.15pm & 6.00pm-10.30pm; Sat: 12.30pm - 2.45pm & 6.00pm - 10.30pm
Closest Tube : Green Park
Private Dining Room : Details
Chutney Mary is a fascinating culinary phenomenon. The restaurant had been trading for twenty-five years on King's Road in Chelsea, waving the flag for upmarket Indian food that would satisfy the most exacting gastronome. But just as after twenty-five years married couples often change their location and try out a different house, city or country, Chutney Mary had its eyes on the well-heeled environs of St James. Since opening, it's solidified its status as a sought-after dining destination. When we visited on a Thursday night, there was brisk business and a few famous faces, including the inimitable Hugh Grant.
Launched by MW Eat collection of restaurants, which boasts the enviable coterie of Michelin-starred Amaya and London's eldest Indian Veeraswamy, Chutney Mary is a masterstroke of elegance, which comes across in its brand new dining room. Guests enter through the luxurious Pukka Bar to a dining room that can only be described as gilt. Exuding class at every corner, it's replete with dark woods, frosted glass beautifully brocaded carmine carpets. Perhaps the finest fixture, however, was the extremely buzzy crowd who were dressed to impress. Dining at Chutney Mary offers the opportunity to dust down your favourite suit and make an impression. The people populating the surrounding tables were seriously sophisticated - there were lots of large groups who seemed to be enjoying themselves commensurately.
Service was old-fashioned in the best manner, with waiters and waitresses donning traditional Indian garb and serving dishes from a fold-out silver cart. We settled down with an array of excellent Indian-inspired cocktails and ogled Mr Grant as we waited for our orders to arrive. The menu draws on all seven corners of the subcontinent, with chefs from the Punjab, Lucknow, Goa, Kerala, Hyderabad, Gujurat and Parsi preparing local specialties updated for the cosmopolitan palate.
There were notably no disappointing dishes, however there were a number of salient standouts that you should try. The first of such are the venison samosas, which have received unilateral adulation amongst both bloggers and broadsheet journalists. Baked in golden crisp cones, the meat is perfectly seasoned and delightfully deliquescent, with a spicy tamarind chutney dip. On a return journey, we'd be tempted to order these twice over. Afghani chicken tikka was given a charcoal smoulder on the grill. An array of proper calamari was fried in a piquant spiced batter that really hit the spot.
For our mains, we were smitten with the prawn biryani - a bounty of pink-hued crustaceans seemingly luxuriated amongst fragrant long-grain rice coloured and spiced with a variety of herbs. It was a lovely complement to the grilled snapper, served with a wedge of lime. However, perhaps our favourite dish of the evening was the Rajasthani Lal Maas - the slow cooked boneless lamb osso bucco was a work of beauty. It was particularly delicious mopped up by a perfectly airy hunk of garlic naan. We would have loved to have continued and sampled some of the widely praised desserts on the menu, but at this point we were simply too full.
We were smitten with this newest incarnation of Chutney Mary, which seems well-poised for longevity. We wouldn't be surprised if it was around for another 25 years, or longer.