One of London's hottest new openings isn't actually new.
Though Jamavar's London location is its first international
outpost, it's been one of India's leading fine dining destinations
since the late 1990s. As the signature restaurant at The Leela's
lavish hotels in Bengaluru, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, and New Delhi,
Jamavar offers up all the world-class hospitality, culinary
eclecticism, and impeccable style that The Leela brand
Now, the Jamavar concept has at last made the leap overseas. And
there's even better news for diners in the capital: the kitchen is
being helmed by celebrated chef Rohit Ghai, who earned huge acclaim
for his cooking at the Michelin-starred Gymkhana.
Formerly of Gymkhana, Rohit Ghai
is now leading the kitchen at Jamavar © The Leela
We caught up with chef Rohit Ghai to learn about Jamavar's haute
street food menu, its botanical cocktails, and what makes its
approach to hospitality special.
Greaves: Jamavar has five other locations around
India, but this is its first outside of the Subcontinent. What's in
store for the London location?
Rohit Ghai: 'When it was first founded in the late 90s by The
Leela's Managing Director, Jamavar's aim was to take two completely
different cuisines and sets of flavours-from the north and south of
India-and unite them with a singular menu and fine dining
experience. Jamavar London takes the same holistic approach to
Indian cuisine as its siblings. The menu showcases the varied
flavours of the royal kitchens of the North, along with succulent
options from the shores of the South.'
London is the first
international outpost for the fine dining destination © The
What do you think makes Jamavar's - and by
extension, The Leela's - approach to hospitality
'The Leela's approach to hospitality reflects the centuries-old
tradition of "atithi devo bhava," which literally
translates to "the guest is God." We take pride in creating truly
personal and authentic experiences and showing a special regard for
every guest who crosses our threshold. At Jamavar, we look for
every opportunity to convey the essence of India.'
Jamavar's menu blends North
Indian and South Indian influences © The Leela
Tell us about the menu you've developed for Jamavar.
What are some of the standout dishes?
'From the north, guests can savour hearty dishes like kid goat
shami kebabs with chur chur parathas. From the south, they can
sample seafood-leaning plates like scallops bhel and lobster
nerulli. I've also created special tasting menus inspired by my
travels throughout India.'
You've worked in several Michelin-starred kitchens.
In your experience, what sets a Michelin-starred dining experience
apart? Is it your ambition to earn a Michelin star at
'Excellent techniques, top ingredients, and uncompromising
quality help set apart Michelin-calibre dining experiences. Of
course, I have my dreams for Jamavar London, and I hope that we'll
take Indian cuisine to another level. Right now, we're working hard
to deliver the best we can for our guests.'
You earned a great deal of acclaim for your cooking
at Gymkhana. What did you take away from your time
'I was looking after a two Michelin-starred kitchen with lots of
pressure and learned a tremendous amount, ranging from guest
preferences to operational and management strategies. My biggest
takeaway was that it takes passion and motivation from
everyone on the team to create a winning dining
Enjoy lavish hospitality typical
of The Leela name © The Leela
Is it fair to say, in your view, that London is one
of the world's top cities for food lovers?
'Yes, absolutely. London is a city of diverse cultures and
palates. It offers such a huge variety of ingredients to experiment
with. Above all, the people are simply lovely and really embrace
and enjoy cuisines from all parts of the world.'
How has London's approach to Indian dining changed
in recent years?
'In recent years, Indian cuisine in the capital has grown a lot.
We've seen new focus on India's different regional cuisines, and
we've also seen it evolve into an East-meets-West fusion
Jamavar is set to be one of
London's top Indian eateries © The Leela
London is also a cocktail-loving city. Tell us a
little bit about the cocktail menu at Jamavar - did you have a hand
in creating drinks that would pair well with the
'I always work closely with our sommeliers and the bar team to
create interesting cocktails and wine pairings for our dishes. We
have some great botanical cocktails, infused with spices and herbs,
that are bound to surprise and delight!'
What tip would you give to aspiring young
'A passion for cooking is the one essential. Success in the
kitchen often comes from curiosity and experimentation, so having a
passion lends itself to developing your skills. The best meals come
from cooking with heart and soul.'