Two-time Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar has taken street food to a new level with his bar menu at his Mayfair-based Indian restaurant Benares. Featuring a selection of bite size treats, the menu is a new addition to the bar area and the first time Benares has adopted a more casual style of dining.
From the Punjab region of North West India, to the state of Goa in southern India, every dish has been carefully crafted by different chefs from the Benares kitchen and each is inspired by their hometowns.
A lamb kofta roll with mint and coriander salad is inspired by the street food in Lucknow, North East India, and a quinoa salad, samphire and red onion bhajia comes from the eastern Indian cuisine in Kolkata.
Also on the menu is a grilled curry leaf sea bass with seasonal salad, a classic dish from the southern state of Goa, a chicken tikka crisp naan with smoked tomato dressing from the Punjab region, and a pickled prawn with crispy rice pani puri, a speciality you’ll find in the western city of Mumbai. To fit with the more informal approach to dining, each dish is designed to be eaten with the hands, as they were originally intended.
To add to the experience, every diner is presented with a small menu complete with an illustrated map of the country. Like a culinary journey through India, Benares’ new menu allows you to explore the traditional spices and ingredients around the country without leaving the table.
Each dish displays a variety of elements, pieced together using traditional preparation methods from each region, but all finished off with a dash of Benares Michelin-starred finesse, and just enough spice to make your lips tingle.
Also look out for the extensive cocktail menu, the perfect accompaniment to street food snacks and equally as inventive. No cocktail is complete with a fried and dehydrated chilli perched atop the glass after all.
As the first Indian to receive a Michelin star during his time as Head Chef at Tamarind in 2001, Atul then achieved a second star six years later at Benares in 2007. Of the new menu, Atul Kochhar says: “Our kitchen team at Benares are very creative, and love experimenting with new dishes and inventing twists on beloved classics. We aim to create an authentic, fast and easy dining experience – but one that is still of Michelin-starred standard.’
The street food menu is available until Christmas.
Find out more about Chef Kochhar