London has no shortage of great quality Indian fine-dining restaurants. One that consistently comes up as one of the best restaurants is Jamavar. Having been to Bombay Bustle before, which is a sister restaurant to Jamavar London, my friends and I already have a general idea of what to expect. We have no doubts that Jamavar will uphold high hospitality standards and we were incredibly excited to finally try out the amazing food that everyone raves about.
Festive decors were in full swing when we visited Jamavar London in December. We were seated at the ground floor level of the restaurant, which featured opulent colonial furnishings and brass accents against the dark timber interiors. It was elegant and sophisticated without going too over the top, and had quite a casual vibe to the place.
Jamavar: One Michelin Star Pan-Indian Fine-Dining
Jamavar was created by the founding family of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts in India. The very first Jamavar restaurant started at The Leela Palace Bengalaru and, with glowing reviews, they very soon expanded across other cities in India. Jamavar London is their very first international outpost and continued to be highly praised by food critics and such. This includes being awarded a Michelin star in The Great Britain and Ireland Michelin Guide 2022, which is no doubt a huge achievement.
Jamavar’s menu takes inspiration from all parts of India, drawing together a culmination of culinary art and flavours from every Indian region. Tasting menus are also available as well as lunch menus. Chicken and lamb are halal, but alcohol is served at the restaurant.
The Food (What We Ordered)
Date of visit: December 2022
Malai Stone Bass Tikka (£25)
Every review I read of Jamavar raves about the Malai Stone Bass Tikka. Given I absolutely love fish, my anticipation for this dish was off the roof. Did it live up to expectations? I’d say yes it’s good but it also didn’t completely sweep me off my feet. It’s certainly some of the meatiest chunks of fish I’ve had. The flavours were delectable but I was expecting a more piquant oomph. Though I must say, the accompanying avocado & mint chutney was a total winner. That was, surprisingly, my favourite bit and I saved some to have it with other dishes as well.
Scallop Moilee (£18)
There weren’t a lot of mentions of the scallops from the plethora of reviews I’ve read. Nor is it marked as a recommended dish on the menu. But personally, I think this dish deserves more spotlight. To begin with, these hand-dived scallops were seared to perfection. They were cooked just right to highlight the delicate sweetness of the scallop and attained the perfect texture without any hint of rubbery touches. They come served in a pool of curried coconut sauce, which interestingly reminded me of Hong Kong-style “Portuguese sauce”. The accompanying plantain crisps were an absolute delight as well.
Adraki Lamb Chops (£42)
Marinated with royal cumin, fennel, and ginger, the Adraki lamb chops were quite a delight. They were incredibly soft & tender and succulent throughout. What’s really missing though was a good kick of spice and oomph. It was moreish but it wasn’t outstanding. The accompanying carrot salad was refreshing with a touch of tang. The whole dish would feel more complete with a side of chutney, in my opinion. But luckily we had the avocado & mint chutney that came with the Malai Stone Bass Tikka and it paired wonderfully with the lamb chops.
Achari Baingan (£20)
We then went for the Achari Baingan, which got baby aubergines and potatoes cooked in pickled spices. It was pretty delightful, where the gravy was thick and featured a tinge of sweetness. The spices were warming and the heat was only very subtle so it’s suitable for people who don’t like spicy food. Personally, I would’ve preferred the aubergines to be cooked a little longer as I like them a little mushier in texture. But that’s totally just a personal preference and we all enjoyed the dish.
Laal Maas (£33)
Next was the Laal Maas, a popular northern Indian mutton curry from Rajasthan. Instead of traditional mutton, Jamavar uses Hampshire lamb shank and slow-cook it for 8 hours with Rajasthani chilli. The lamb was incredibly tender in texture and falling easily off the bone. There was a little kick of spice to it, but still missing a bit of flavour depth and richness. Compared to a very similar order we had at Gymkhana not too long ago, this lamb shank curry was a bit better. However, it still wasn’t one to impress.
Assorted Bread Basket (£13)
To pair with the curries, we got the assorted bread basket. It was a fairly standard bread basket with a selection of naan and roti. The garlic naan stood out the most and the rest were nice but nothing special. In our honest opinion, £13 was a bit steep for what it is. But hey, this is Mayfair after all.
Pistachio Milk Cake (£13)
Moving onto desserts, I had my eyes set on the Pistachio Milk Cake. The cake came in a small tiny cube, vibrantly green from the pistachios and topped with a layer of cream cheese frosting with rose petals and crushed pistachios on top. It’s almost as if it’s in camouflage with the plate but the cake comes sitting in a pool of pistachio milk. We thoroughly enjoyed the rich nuttiness of the pistachio milk, which got an impeccable balance of sweetness and the natural savouriness of the pistachios. The frosting wasn’t too sweet either and really allowed the original pistachio flavours to come through. However, the cake itself was too dense in texture. Especially the bottom bits, it was so dense that it felt hard to slice it. As such, whilst the flavours were there, I can’t say this was a particularly good slice of milk cake.
Masala Chai (£4.50)
Not that we had high expectations but for £4.50 a cup, we did expect the masala chai to be somewhat decent. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Overall, the chai was extremely weak and lacklustre. There was a subtle hint of spice but, other than that, it was mostly watery and lack of taste.
Lung Ching Dragon Well Tea (£4.50)
We got extremely excited when we saw Lung Ching Tea available on the menu. Lung Ching, or Dragon Well Tea (龍井), is a popular Chinese imperial tea that we grew up with. It’s essentially a type of roasted green tea with deep flavours and a little grassy touch. The Lung Ching Tea from Jamavar was light and mellow. Whilst the quality was there, unfortunately, we felt it needed a much longer brew to truly get the flavours out. Also, we somewhat expected it to come in a little pot but it’s literally just one cup which we find to be overpriced for it is.
Restaurant Review Summary
Walking in with the expectation to be wowed, we somewhat felt slightly underwhelmed with our meal at Jamavar London. The food was generally good, but most dishes didn’t really leave much of an impression. Apart from one, or perhaps two, standout dishes, we just weren’t blown away as we’d hoped. Though overall, the service has been great throughout our entire meal and we did really enjoy the ambience of the restaurant.
Nearest station: Bond Street / Green Park