Gaylord, the North Indian restaurant on Mortimer Street in Fitzrovia, central London, has closed after 53 years in the capital. Its official website returns a 404 error, it is no longer listed as bookable on Open Table, and the restaurant phone line cut out when Eater attempted to contact staff earlier today. Its social media has not been updated since December 2018. It will be replaced by Banjarah, the London debut for Azure Hospitality, which is based in Delhi and runs several restaurant brands across India, including “hawker-inspired” Mamagoto; a roll-out of the Dhaba by Claridges brand; and Sly Granny, a slick “boutique restaurant-lounge” operation.
Banjarah will occupy the basement and ground floor at 79-81 Mortimer Street, according to planning documents, with dining room plans yet to be drawn up.
Gaylord opened in 1966; the smart, upscale restaurant described itself as a specialist in the Mughlai cuisine of North India, while also serving a pan-Indian menu of snacks, ‘Indian tacos,’ and dishes from the tandoor. Sejal Sukhadwala, the author of Eater London’s comprehensive guide to Indian dining in the capital, remembers its history:
There were two Gaylord restaurant in London in the 1980s owned by the Kaul brothers from Kashmir: one in Mortimer Street, owned by the older brother, and a second one in Albemarle Street at the current Gymkhana site [sic], owned by his younger sibling. I don’t know their first names, but the older Mr Kaul was a newsreader for BBC Asian news - one of the few Indian faces on TV in the time. I used to visit with my family, and remember them being smart, nicely decorated places — there were only a small number of those at the time; most were standard ‘curry houses’. They served tasty North Indian dishes — the Mortimer Street branch had a unique mithai trolley for serving sweets such as gajar halwa and gulab jamun. In the basement in Albemarle Street, they used to hold food festivals like Rajasthani — I remember a particularly delicious bread pudding, shahi tukra.
More soon on Banjarah.