Manthan has opened in an intimate and clubby space on Maddox Street. The restaurant is the latest opening from acclaimed chef Rohit Ghai who first made his name in the UK with groundbreaking Mayfair restaurants Gymkhana and Jamavar, for which he was the first Indian chef to win a Michelin star within a year of a restaurant opening. Ghai opened his first solo restaurant, Kutir, in Chelsea in 2018 to universal acclaim, Manthan follows in Kutir’s footsteps in terms of atmosphere and quality while offering something completely new to diners. “Manthan” means to reflect through study and the restaurant is a reflection of everything Ghai has learned so far from working in kitchens across the world.
Sleek wood, burnished bronze and aqua touches make Manthan feel sumptuous, relaxed and luxurious. There are notes of the sea in everything – from the blue leather and velvet seating, to the imagery of shells, sea creatures and fishes adorning the walls. It feels fresh and fun – the place to head for an evening out.
The menu at Manthan is divided into smaller plates (Gali Ka Khaana), followed by curries (Rassedaar), grilled proteins (Chatpata Chops & Tikka) and accompaniments (Thoda Aur) and then a selection of desserts (Meetha). Ghai’s restaurants have always been vegetarian friendly, but Manthan serves non-meat eaters particularly well at every stage. Highlights of the small plates include jackfruit tacos in a rice lentil pancake, ghati masala prawns with sesame, peanut and coconut and sekwa – a dish of white fish with mustard and burnt tomato.
Stand out curries include the Anda curry made with Burford Brown eggs and fenugreek, as well as the dal muradabadi with pink lentils and tamarind and Ghai’s take on an osso buco with lamb, curry leaves and jaffna spices. From the grill, the soy chop is particularly special, especially for vegetarians, and is prepared with raw mango, pickled onion and avocado. The halloumi tikka and black pepper fish are equally as tempting. Manthan’s breads are not to be missed either, especially the Sri Lankan style stuffed pol roti, which is buttery, fresh and coconutty.
If you have room for dessert, try the rich narangi chocolate and garlic kheer, which is sweet and made from condensed milk and jaggery. The menu shows Ghai’s appreciation of pan-Indian cuisine, with a delicious street-food-inflected influence from Delhi, Ultar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as well as the kitchens across the world. It’s a more compact menu than at Kutir but leaves plenty to explore on repeat visits.
To drink, along with a well-curated wine list, Manthan offers a selection of delicious and innovative cocktails including the irresistible sangam made with chai spice-infused white rum, tandoori pineapple and tiki bitters, and the menaka, made with wild hibiscus-infused mescal, Madagascar vanilla, Orinoco bitters, London essence white peach and jasmine soda.
A three-course meal for two with cocktails and wine, around £120.
A new restaurant from Rohit Ghai is always an event and Manthan in no way disappoints. The flavours and cooking are innovative, interesting and delicious and the restaurant, service, atmosphere and drinks are without fail, superlative.