I am a big fan of chef Rohit Ghai and Brunch at Manthan is his latest venture. Launched last year and based in Mayfair’s Maddox Street, Manthan is surrounded by such stalwarts as Kanishka and Bombay Bustle – potentially big competition. But Rohit knows his way around the kitchen and is masterful at putting a solid menu together.
Brunches can be an odd thing can’t they? Most people go for the booze, couldn’t care less about the food and can then collapse in their beds at a decent time in the evening. For me though, I care deeply about the food. Why bother downing all those drinks if you aren’t enjoying the food? I do find it hard to find a decent brunch here that doesn’t come at the expense of the food, although there are a few options.
Brunch at Manthan is a new opportunity to corner the daytime market, beginning at 12:30pm and finishing at 5:00pm. What makes this even better though, is that unlike most brunch spots, Manthan offers this menu every day of the week. So far, so good. The brunch menu is also split into two options, offering a “Brunch signature” [meaty] menu and a “Brunch vegetarian.” You have the choice of one of three starters, between two mains, and a dessert. The non-veg menu is £35 per person and the vegetarian only is £30 which can be considered very reasonable for Mayfair.
Now the food here is really quite brilliant. Rohit has distilled the very best and popular of the a la carte menu at Manthan into his brunch menu, including new classics like the (improved) marinated deep fried buttermilk chicken bites with pink peppercorn, ginger and curry leaf, goat shami kebab and Kerala prawn curry.
Highlights included a slow cooked osso buco of lamb on the bone, provided in almost bitesize pieces so you can slurp out that wonderfully rich, fatty, spicy bone marrow. The sauce has been slow cooked and is a deep, viscous brown, olfactory sensation overloading the brain with multiple Indian spices, ginger, garlic and chilli. The prawn curry is very well spiced, served in a thin sauce with only a hint of coconut milk and a big hit of chillies. Despite only including around 5 small to medium sized prawns, I find myself reaching for that smooth, velvety sauce with my caraway flecked naan. Both mains are served with rice, that caraway naan and a perfect yellow daal, artfully swirled with tamarind and green chutneys.
For dessert, Rohit has turned back to Kutir for inspiration, replicating a stalwart from his menu at his Chelsea-based townhouse restaurant: both my guest and I share a malpua rabri – two chewy textured pancakes with an intensely saffron-infused custard and tart berries helping to balance out the richness of the courses before.
But would it really be a brunch without the booze?! Although Manthan does not offer a bottomless booze option for its brunch – and for that I am quite thankful – the cocktail menu is excellent. Leaning towards the sweeter side, the list of cocktails all come with an Indian twist. Our favourites included the Menaka, a punchy mezcal-based beverage infused with wild hibiscus, Madagascan vanilla, and white peach and jasmine. The Amrita is a more Mediterranean influenced infusion with gin, Italicus, Cocchi americano and electric bitters. Both drinks are almost works of art, with delicate decorative flourishes such as coloured quills with intricate feathers and gold-gilded glasses.
The restaurant itself is small but cosy, allowing for the efficient service to take place seamlessly. I also love that the tableware reflects the décor, with accents of peacock blue and gold glistening throughout.
If you are looking for an upmarket brunch where the food is, rather importantly, guaranteed to knock your socks off, complemented by charming service and lovely, sweet cocktails at a reasonable price point, why look elsewhere? Manthan will welcome you in and make you feel at home.
To discover more, visit: manthanmayfair.co.uk
All imagery courtesy of Manthan Mayfair.
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