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A RELATIVE newcomer to London’s curry restaurant scene, Gymkhana was named Restaurant of the Year at The National Restaurant Awards, organised by Restaurant magazine and held at the upmarket Hurlingham Club.

The first ever Indian

restaurant to pick up the coveted award, Gymkhana’s blend of authentic Indian food and modern British styling helped it become an immediate hit when it opened in September 2013 in London’s Mayfair. According to the award citation, “Chef restaurateur Karam Sethi’s commitment to Indian culinary tradition and a refusal to tone down his kitchen’s cooking for the European palate has created one of the

most striking and well- received restaurants in recent years, with a menu of powerful yet precise Indian dishes matched by a creative drinks offer.” The awards recognise

the top 100 restaurants in the UK, as well as specific awards categories. While London holds the highest number of restaurants in the list, there are seven Scottish restaurants and six from the North of England in the top 100. The 2014 list sees 20 new entries, a reflection of the evolving UK gastronomic scene.

Gymkhana serves

contemporary Indian cuisine using seasonal British ingredients, with a strong focus in the tandoori oven. The menu offers chatpatta sharing dishes in a convivial environment. The interior design of

Gymkhana references British Raj India with ceiling fans that hang from a dark- lacquered oak ceiling, cut glass wall lamps from Jaipur, hunting trophies from the Maharaja of Jodhpur and Grandmother Sethi’s barometer. Reminiscent of the gymkhana clubs, the dining room is flanked by turned oak booths with marble tables and chocolate leather banquettes. Brass edged

tables and rattan chairs punctuate the dining space, which is embellished with Punch sketches and Indian sports prints and divided by lead framed, mottled glass screens. A large marble bar stands before an antique leaded mirror work, providing a backdrop to the room. n

North east curry customers show generosity

DINERS at two North East England restaurants have helped raise money for charity by tucking into curry. The Marie Curie charity benefitted from a ‘Curry


for Curie’ evening at Deeva Restaurant in Leeds which raised over £5000, to provide more hours of free nursing care to people with terminal illnesses in the

West Yorkshire area. In another display of generosity mayors and civic leaders from eight authorities in the North East, including Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Barnard Castle, Darlington, Stockton and Hartlepool, gathered at the Moti Raj restaurant in Sunderland, for a night of fund-raising organised by Mayor of Sunderland , Councillor Stuart Porthouse. More than £1,300 was generated from ticket sales and raffles for

Age UK Sunderland, Action on Dementia Sunderland and NSPCC Childline. The restaurant was

packed, with a total of 96 people supporting the mayor’s charities. More excellent news was that Shafiqul, the owner of Moti Raj, celebrated the restaurant’s 40th anniversary by providing the meal free, which meant all the ticket sales monies went to the charities. n

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