Jamavar, on Mount Street in London, draws inspiration from the Viceroy’s house in New Delhi, marrying the opulence of India’s bygone eras with the modernity of London’s dining scene. The restaurant’s name itself, is derived from the luxurious Jamavar shawls that symbolise Indian craftsmanship. Mount Street, known for its Victorian architecture and high-end boutiques, provided a fitting backdrop for the restaurant that aims to blend the rich culinary traditions of India with contemporary expectations.

The décor, with its elaborate patterns and textures, evokes the splendour of Indian palaces, giving an ambiance that is both opulent and inviting. This setting was chosen for a significant celebration: a very close friend’s 50th birthday. The choice was deliberate, driven by her ambition to dine at a Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, which are not particularly common.  Jamavar stood out, particularly for its tasting menu, promising a journey worth travelling from her home in the north Midlands for. This choice simplified the dining experience, obviating the need for lengthy menu deliberations. 

We started with a raft of cocktails which went down all too easily for a Saturday lunchtime. If you want to get a celebration started, a few cocktails are certainly the way to go. They pick everyone up, help the conversation flow and simply make everyone happy. The service was not rushed, but well judged, allowing us to enjoy each course, and keep the flow of conversation going. It is all too common in London to feel rushed these days, and the booking confirmation did allocate us a time slot. Fortunately, it was not an issue and we had a long, relaxed lunch that everyone loved. 

As we got to the 2nd course, some of us switched to wine which seemed a little more appropriate given the quality of the food. It is always hard to pair with Indian food, so I opted initially for a Matetic Vineyards Sauvignion Blanc from Chile (£51), but then moved onto a Viognier-Marsanne-Roussanne blend called “‘Three Gardens’ from the Langmeil winery in the Barossa (£65), which I visited for my book on Australian wine. I chose this white Rhone blend as I thought it would have the depth and structure to deal with the chilli. It worked well. 

One annoyance was our nearly £60 charge for bottled water, a practice I find detracting from the overall fine dining experience. While I understand it is the norm, charges for bottled water remain a slight irk for me. 

The tasting menu was priced at £105 and offered 6 courses :-

Tellicherry Pepper & Garlic Soft Shell Crab with Plum Chutney, Garlic Chips & Homemade Garlic Pickle
The soft shell crab, seasoned with piquant Tellicherry pepper, had a crispy exterior that gave way to tender, flavourful meat. The addition of garlic in three forms, chips, pickle, and infused within the chutney, intensified the dish, while the plum chutney provided a sweet and sour contrast that elevated the crab’s natural sweetness. The garlic, which I unexpectedly bit in too fast, with its sharpness, complements the peppery crust beautifully. The birthday girl was not overly keen on seeing the claws which the service staff picked up on. The very kindly swapped it out for another dish. 

Lobster Idli Sambhar with Black Pepper Spiced Lobster, Rice-Lentil Cakes & Vegetable Stew
This dish pairs the luxurious texture of lobster with the comforting familiarity of idli and sambhar. The black pepper not only seasons the lobster but also links it to the spiciness typical of South Indian cuisine. The rice-lentil cakes absorbed the rich, spiced broth of the vegetable stew, while the lobster, tender and rich, added a level of opulence.

Malai Stone Bass Tikka with Mace, Green Cardamom, Avocado & Mint Chutney
The Stone Bass was perfectly cooked with a blend of mace and green cardamom, spices that offer warmth and a hint of sweetness. The use of malai, or cream, ensures the bass remained moist and delicate. Served with an avocado and mint chutney, the dish had a refreshing coolness.

Adraki Lamb Chop with Royal Cumin, Fennel, Ginger & Carrot Salad
The ginger (‘adraki’) marinated lamb chop, with its robust flavours, was counterbalanced by the brightness of the carrot salad. Royal cumin and fennel seeds added depth and a slight aniseed note, elevating the ginger’s warmth without overpowering the lamb’s natural flavours.

Malvani Prawn Curry with King Prawns, Coconut Milk, Tamarind & Traditional Malvan Spice Mix
The prawns, succulent and sweet, were served in a curry that was both aromatic and tangy, thanks to the tamarind and coconut milk. The traditional Malvan spice mix gave the curry some complexity that was spicy, smoky, and slightly sweet. 

Chilli Chikki Lava Chocolate Fondant with Valrhona Guanaja, Cinnamon Ice Cream & Vanilla Streusel
Ending on a pudding binding two continents together, this was decadent, combining the Valrhona Guanaja chocolate with the warmth of Indian spices. The molten centre of the fondant flowed, its richness added too with the heat from the chilli. The cinnamon ice cream added a spiced contrast and welcome coolness that tamed the chilli. The vanilla streusel gave a crunchy texture. 

It was a fine choice to choose Jamavar, not least due to the quality of the food but the ambience. We noticed a number of families, who were locals I guess, enjoying their Saturday lunch. Not something you ordinarily see in Indian restaurants, and in a strange way reminded me of Italy.  Michelin starred Indian restaurants are rare, but somewhere we should all frequent, to experience the very best examples of the nation’s cuisine.