By Maggie Majstrova
With the Euro in full swing, the year 1966 is perhaps particularly topical at the moment (you know, England beating West Germany and winning the World Cup – the last football claim to fame, that sort of thing) but I’d like to take you back there for an entirely different reason. It was that year that Gaylord Restaurant opened its doors in London ready to make its mark on the City’s residents. And that it did.
Launched by Mr P.L. Lamba, who this year celebrates his 97th birthday (a grand anniversary in itself, I’m sure you’ll agree), it is considered one of the oldest Indian restaurants in London. But that is by no means to say that it is stuck in the 60’s! Although Gaylord Restaurant believes that ‘Tradition is always topical’, this family-run business combines traditional recipes with modern aesthetic, always keeping current.
With their Mumbai sister restaurant also recently celebrating a key anniversary (60 years in their case) I think it’s safe to say the team behind this classy venue in Mortimer Street know exactly what they’re doing. On June 20, as part of their PR efforts around the anniversary, we were invited among other press and patrons to help Gaylord Restaurant celebrate their key milestone.
Having arrived to a venue that promised a true Indian extravaganza, we were sure they would delivery – and, they really did. A lavish temporary buffet area draped with roses compliments the chic décor of murals depicting what appears to be traditionally dressed groups but again with a modern twist, true to the restaurant’s ethos.
Accepting a welcome glass of sparkling wine, we immediately took our place, carefully selected to be close to the kitchen (i.e. the source of a truly magnificent aroma and therefore a promise of something sensational to come) but far enough into the room to be able to take it all in. The wine was perfectly crisp, a special Gaylord Restaurant 50 th anniversary label launched as part of the newly announced collaboration between Gaylord Restaurant and Fratelli Wines.
It seems we arrived just in time for the first canapes to start making their way out of the kitchen. I can’t pretend to remember exactly what everything I sampled was, thanks to the whirlwind of waiters offering something new from every direction, but there is something I can absolutely promise you about each thing. It was absolutely delicious – from a classy twist on fish and chips, to small bowls of paneer curry, mini crab cakes and mini Idli.
The presentation, albeit sometimes a little difficult to eat in terms of practicalities, was out of this world. The way the chefs paid acute attention to the way the dish looked, while delivering an absolutely balanced and exciting flavour each time was not lost on me.
Plus, if you still need more persuading, Gaylord Restaurant are rolling back their prices on July 4 and selling selected curries at the price they sold in 1966; 30 pence curry anyone? You’d be crazy not to.