The Royal Kitchen is the decadent at-home dining experience by much-loved Mayfair restaurant Jamavar.
Reflecting the restaurant’s ethos of showcasing dishes found in the stately kitchens of Northern India and the coastal cuisine from the Southern states, the menu crafted by Executive Chef Surender Mohan, draws inspiration from exploring pan-Indian flavours using a range of authentic cooking techniques from the royal kitchens of palatial India. The centrepiece of The Royal Kitchen is their Celebration Menu – a five-course menu designed for group feasting featuring a selection of their signature dishes available with an optional bespoke cocktail pairing apt for hosting a leisurely and intimate dinner in the comfort of your home.
Our food arrived in a promisingly weighty paper carrier bag with Jamavar’s branding stamped artfully on the outside. Peeking into the bag we discovered a bespoke menu printed on thick, quality cream card which got things off to a luxurious-feeling start.
Everything was beautifully presented in sturdy trays, still managing to look beautiful even after its journey out to the shadowlands of Tulse Hill.
We start our feast with Chandni Chowk Ki Aloo Tikki (£10), an Indian street food classic made with potato, spiced white peas, yoghurt, tamarind and mint chutney. It’s rich and intensely flavourful: tangy tamarind cutting through slippery potato bites, each delicious mouthful is enjoyed immensely. We eat the leftover chutney accompaniments with a spoon (benefits of being at home where there is no shame in behaving like street urchins) because they are too good to leave.
For mains, we adorn our plates with fragrant Pulao Rice (£5), Kasundi Paneer Tikka (£10), Gucchi Mutter (£20), Saag Paneer (£15) and Jamavar Dal (£8) and slices of beautifully cooked Naan (£3).
The Gucchi Mutter is a tandoor dish of morels (funny looking shrivelled cucumber things, for the uninitiated), green peas and fresh tomatoes. The naturally sweet tomatoes provide the perfect base for the earthy, smoky morels. Exquisitely balanced flavours and rich, flavourful mouthfuls define this dish.
The Saag Paneer (homemade cottage cheese, spinach, tomato, fenugreek and fresh chilli) is jewel-green and has a welcome kick of spice that is mollified by creamy pillow-soft paneer.
Kasundi Paneer Tikka turns out to be pleasing rounds of tandoor-cooked paneer served with a raw papaya salad and mint chutney. The salad is gingery and fresh and compliments the heavier richness of the paneer perfectly.
It’s the Jamavar Dal, though, that is the real show stopper for me; perhaps because of my many (failed) attempts at making a dal as flavourful as those I’ve tasted during my travels in India, it is an absolute treat to revisit those complex, comforting flavours in my own home. Slow-cooked black lentils have a gentle bite that melt into a perfectly textured sauce: hydrous without being runny, thick without being dry. It is the king of dals and we mop it up eagerly with slices of the delicious Naan.
To end our feast we enjoy Kesar Rasmalai (soft cheesecake, saffron & nuts) which sends us over the edge completely, and we have to sit in silence for several minutes to recover.
My Rose and Basil Lassi is floral and delicately sweet. It caresses my tastebuds and takes the edge off the spice from the Saag Paneer. My husband’s Spring Punch (vodka, fresh raspberries, framboise, crème de cassis & champagne) is the perfect combination of tart, fresh raspberries softened by the sweetness of framboise and with a reassuringly alcoholic kick.
Every mouthful from the Royal Kitchen by Jamavar is an absolute delight. It is, without doubt, the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten outside of India, and for an hour or so I am blissfully transported back to the heady, vibrant, complexity of one of my favourite places on earth via it’s unique and unforgettable flavours so skillfully prepared and delivered to my London kitchen.