“Enter Berkeley Square from Bruton Street, pass the Bentley showroom and then the Rolls Royce showroom; Benares is the first door on your left.”
These directions will give you an accurate idea of how to find this upmarket venue, which offers “fine dining, Indian style” – and it does have a Michelin star. But it also gives you advance warning of what you are likely to pay.
Benares isn’t cheap. Their “Grazing Menu” (at the time of writing) was £79 per head – add their selection of prestige wines and it rises to £179.
Having said that, the six-course Grazing Menu does offer a very varied feast, with most courses comprising three separate taster items – a bit like an endless series of Indian canapes. These include Curry Leaf and Tarragon-infused Lobster Rillet, Mustard Marinated Chicken Tikka, Spiced Rabbit Skewer with Beetroot Puree, Seared Tiger Prawn with Celeriac Puree, and Roasted Lamb Rump with Liver Mince ‘n’ Peas. So there’s nothing on this menu that you would really recognise as a “curry”.
As it’s exuding an up-market feel, you get served by Indian waiters and a sommelier with faux French accents. But they are all very helpful and welcoming.
So it’s worth visiting for a special treat or if you’re feeling rich. But as my meal cost around four times as much as I would normally pay in any restaurant (Indian or otherwise), I have to question whether it really is four times as good.