If you’ve ever lived with a flatmate, you’ll probably have reached a point when you think to yourselves, ‘how the hell do we have so much stuff’? I’ve gotten rid of the vast majority of my collection of films and even my Hello Kitty ukulele and yet, the flat’s still full of clutter. I’ve been subjected to enough Marie Kondo psychobabble to last a lifetime. The phrase ‘less is more’ has been used a few times.
Less is more, except when it isn’t.
Since places like Gymkhana and Trishna flipped the script on what an Indian restaurant in London could look and feel like years ago, there have been plenty of new modern Indian spots opening up in London. Which brings us to Jamavar, an upmarket, modern Indian restaurant that opened at the end of 2016. It’s the first UK branch of a line of high-end restaurants that provide some of the best Indian fine dining you can eat in megacities like Mumbai and New Delhi, so it stands to reason that the London restaurant would be pretty good. So the question we’re asking is, did London really need another shiny, polished place to eat Indian food?
At Jamavar, the answer undoubtedly, is yes. Here, more is definitely more, from the bling, over-the-top Hindi music video decor, to the food that’s excellent from top to bottom. The £20 butter chicken is probably the most expensive versions you’ll ever order, but it’s also one of the best versions you’ll try. The lamb chops are a surefire crowd pleaser. But the seafood is also brilliant, and it’s genuinely some of the best stuff on the menu - the stone bass comes with a killer green chutney that’ll make you reach for a glass of water, and you’d happily get in a dust-up with your mates for the Malabar prawns.
Speaking of mates, feel free to bring all of them here. Unlike other upmarket Indian restaurants, Jamavar genuinely feels relaxed and perfect for letting your hair down with a good bottle of wine and some cracking food. If it’s a nice day, make your reservation for the upstairs, where the windows open onto the street. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s Indian fine dining that you’d be happy to pay for. It doesn’t feel quite as special as a Gymkhana, but that’s not a knock - nothing else really does.
So while you might want to go with ‘less is more’ for the decor in your living room, at Jamavar, more is definitely more. If you’ll excuse us, we’re off to spark some joy with a few more of those prawns.
Want to eat something with every flavour and texture in a single mouthful? The aloo tikki is a good start - soft potato with crunchy radish, creamy yoghurt, and zingy tamarind in each bite.
This is pretty much as good as a fillet of grilled fish is going to get, and the smoke from the charcoal grill goes great with the heat of the green chutney. You can also get this dish on their less pricey lunch menu.
If you’re into no-fuss seafood, you’ll be all over these. They’re cooked simply in a pan with spice and curry leaves, and taste amazing. At £12 for a plate, they’re also a good deal.
Are they the best in town? All you need to know is that these are very good, and you won’t regret ordering them.
You could conceivably come to Jamavar to eat this with your carb of choice, and leave happy and satisfied. They’ve obviously spent a good amount of time refining the recipe, and it shows - it’s properly rich and luxurious, without being overpowering. They should sell the sauce in tubs.
A dum biryani is a style of spiced rice dish from Hyderabad, encased in pastry with chunks of goat and in this case, lamb. It’s nicely made here, if not a patch on the Gymkhana’s superlative version.