Rohit Ghai has made a triumphant return to Mayfair with Manthan, an Indian restaurant with a focus on sharing plates. The name means “to churn and reflect” and the restaurant both draws on his childhood as well as his experience in some of London’s Indian restaurants including one of our favourites, Kutir.
We caught up with Rohit to learn all about Manthan.
How did it all start?
It started with cooking with my mother – I can’t remember the first dish we ever made together, but my earliest memories are cooking with her as a very young child. She taught me how to use spices, how to taste and how to season. From then on I knew that I would be a chef and that kitchens were where I would feel happiest – it was a natural progression.
Tell us about your training and how that has helped you today
I began my career with culinary school before beginning my first role in the Taj group. From there I worked at the Oberoi Hotel Group in India, where I was surrounded by a really wonderful selection of chefs and mentors who taught me invaluable, classic European styles. I still use these techniques today and fuse them with Indian flavours and ingredients – they’ve been central to my success and innovative cooking.
Tell us about your food menu at Manthan
The food at Manthan is a very different concept to my other restaurant, Kutir. It’s based on the premise of smaller sharing plates inspired by food from my childhood and career, with a special focus on dishes from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh (where I grew up). The dishes all reflect my culinary experiences – both professional and personal.
We hear the cocktails at Manthan are next level. What can you tell us?
The cocktails at Manthan are inspired by the seven oceans of the world and the Hindu mythology behind these. They’re rich and full-bodied with fresh exotic fruits, botanicals and innovative infusions.
What future signature dishes are you currently working on?
I like dishes to be seasonal and interesting, so I can’t give too much away! We will be revisiting the menu for Spring and making sure it works with the best British produce for the season.
What do you like to cook at home?
At home I often cook Indian food too – it’s such a broad and varied cuisine that I can always find something new to do with it. I make a lot of vegetarian food, including lots of recipes from my new cookbook Tarkari. Palak Paneer is something I cook for my daughters at least twice a week – the delicious paneer with the nutritious spinach is a winner.
Top 3 restaurants in London?
Sexy Fish, Sartoria and Park Chinois. Sartoria could possibly be my top choice, as I really like the menu and the restaurant in general, and respect Francesco Mazzei immensely.
What tips would you give to people who want to own restaurants?
I’d advise them to create a unique concept, do their market research, focus on consistency and don’t let a customer leave unhappy. It’s also important to always remain confident about your product and your team.
What is happening next in the culinary world at Manthan?
At Manthan, I will continue to serve sub-continent dishes that are personal favourites from my childhood, but I’d also like to bring some more unique and exciting plates to the menu.
To discover more about Rohit Ghai and Manthan, visit: manthanmayfair.co.uk
All imagery courtesy of Justin De Souza.
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