Atul Kochhar’s Michelin-starred Indian restaurant and bar, Benares in Mayfair, has announced that it will launch a new almost exclusively vegan “street food” style menu, which aims to “take guests on a culinary journey from the east to the west corners of India.”
Each of the all-new dishes will be individually designed by one chef in the Benares kitchen and will be inspired by a specific street food speciality from that chef’s own hometown. They are said to range from Lucknow in north east India to Kerala, in the coastal south west of the country. Each will use different marinating methods and tandoor traditions. The menu will be designed as a map, highlighting the origin of each of the dishes.
Initially, five options will be available. Including:
- Mixed leaf salad, kasundi dressing, panch phoron artichokes — typically served in west Bengal
- Sweet tandoori romanesco, mango and ginger quinoa — a traditional dish from Maharashtra in western India
- Tandoori cafreal paneer, Konkan spiced tomato chutney — a specialty from Konkan, Goa
- Green pea tikki, apple and burnt lemon ketchup — from Lucknow, north east India
- Atul Kochar’s signature tarkari pepper fry with carom crisps — a classic dish found in Kerala, in the south west
The new menu will sit alongside Benares’ original street food menu, which was introduced last year. To that menu will be added meat versions of the above. Thus: Tandoori cafreal sea bass, Konkan spiced tomato chutney; grilled chicken seekh kebab, apple and burnt lemon ketchup; and Kochar’s own lamb pepper fry, carom crisps.
Each menu will be priced at £30 — which includes all five dishes and is available to order in the Benares lounge area, not the restaurant.
About the innovation, Kochhar said:
Our talented kitchen team at Benares have developed a brand new street food menu offering guests the opportunity to experience the variety of dishes that derive from India. With plant-based eating on the rise, we wanted to offer a fresh and alternative menu alongside our regular one making street food more accessible to all.
Mayfair is no stranger to the highest of high-end Indian restaurants. And although Benares has been there the longest, it faces stiff competition from Gymkhana, Jamavar and, most recently, Indian Accent.