Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef in the world to receive a Michelin star, has announced plans to open a new restaurant called Kanishka in March that will showcase cuisine from India’s lesser-known regions.
The new restaurant will be located on Mayfair’s Maddox Street, in London, and is a joint partnership between Kochhar and Tina English, another recognised innovator of London’s Indian dining scene, having previously worked as commercial director for Indian Restaurants Limited to develop The Cinnamon restaurant brand.
Kochhar made a name for himself while working at Tamarind in Mayfair, which won a Michelin star in 2001. He left to open Benares in 2002, which was awarded its own Michelin star four years later.
Kanishka will showcase the cuisine of territories “previously unexplored” by London’s restaurants, particularly the Seven Sister States in the most easternmost region of India.
Speaking of his new venture, Kochhar said: “Kanishka is a very exciting project for us – it’s a great opportunity to continue to showcase Indian flavours alongside quality British produce, but also introduce London’s diners to the unique flavours of territories previously unexplored by Indian cuisine in the UK.”
Using seasonal and locally sourced British produce where possible, dishes will include: Kachela Maas, a Sikkim inspired venison tartare with mustard oil mayonnaise, naan crouton and onions; Samundri Khazana Alleppey, a dish of pan seared seafood, Alleppey sauce and smoked cabbage poriyal; and Chocolate rasmalai, a milk-based dessert popular in eastern India and neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Drinks will also be a key element in Kanishka’s offering, with signature cocktails including the Roast Banana Old Fashioned, made from Tandoor roasted banana with cinnamon, orange and pecan bitters, maple, and the more savoury Ingrita, made from Mezcal served with a chilled lightly spiced tomato broth. ‘Kanishka’s World of Imagination’ meanwhile will allow diners to create their own highball drink from a menu of herb and spice distillates, mixed with a choice of naturally flavoured tonic waters and their spirit of choice.
Kanishka’s extensive whisky menu will showcase over 50 types of whisky, with a unique selection sourced from India.
The restaurant itself is named after King Kanishka, an emperor of the Kushan dynasty in the second century, who practised the Buddhist values of including kindness, fairness, honesty, humbleness and a sense of equality. On arriving at the restaurant, guests will be greeted by topiary elephants and an antique front door, whilst inside will feature verdant foliage against calming shades of blue and intricate beaded details. Split across the ground and basement floors, the 127-cover space includes a bar, a terrace at the front, and an intimate, 12-cover garden room downstairs.