Ex-Gymkhana and Jamavar chef Rohit Ghai has just opened the best new Indian restaurant in Chelsea

The vibe

Rohit Ghai’s backstory is the stuff of culinary legend, having moved the dial on London’s Indian fine-dining scene all the way up to eleven thanks to celebrated stints starting with Benares, then on to the JKS (Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina Sethi) group of restaurants (which includes Gymkhana and Trishna), before most recently enjoying a stint at Jamavar (where he picked up a Michelin star in record time). Now partnered with Abhi Sangwan, Ghai has opened Kutir in a tidy backstreet off King’s Road, repurposing what for years served as Chelsea’s only upscale Indian but now benefits from a bright and refreshing overhaul.

The menu

Food-wise, we’re talking heritage-inspired cuisine of the most energetic and appetising kind: Ghai’s experience cooking in some of India’s most respected hotels had the added advantage of introducing him to the country’s unique wildlife sanctuaries, affording him the chance to develop a cuisine closer to the countryside than the countertop. The menu is a standout sharing selection that offers exceptional stone bass (landed in Devon) served on a bed of squid ink “tagliatelle”, 24-hour roasted lamb rogan josh and a quail biryani that’s perfect for this time of year. Closer to home, Ghai’s tandoori chicken served with lentils is one sharing plate that’s almost impossible to share…

The verdict

Repurposing the site of Vineet Bhatia might have seemed a home-run of sorts, but it’s nothing of the kind. Where that rightly celebrated restaurant once contented itself with dull room and a lofty one-hundred-pound-plus set menu, this is a new gem in an area parlously short of high-end eateries, much less gold-standard Indians. Don’t leave without tasting the cocktails either. The Sangam is the Vesper of its age, and not for downing in one.