As I mentioned here, Friday marked two years with my boyfriend. Some people might think it’s a bit unnecessary to celebrate this sort of thing, but I think it’s really important in a relationship to always take time to appreciate each other – especially when you’ve been together a bit longer, and you live together! So on Friday night my boyfriend and I headed to Benares for a celebratory meal.
Benares is a Michelin starred Indian fusion restaurant, which sounded perfect for us – my boyfriend loves all Indian food whereas I like to try something a bit different, and the menu basically offers the best of both worlds! It’s tucked away round a corner in Mayfair, and when we arrived the doors were opened for us by two men whose entire job seemed to consist of opening and closing the doors – what a job!
I wore a new dress from the ASOS sale and Ian wore a shirt I bought him from Topman, whch I think is gorgeous.
Our table wasn’t ready when we arrived so we were taken through to the bar. If you ever go, I recommend showing up a bit early just so you can have a drink here, because it’s gorgeous – low lit, cosy tables complete with a dreamy, candle lit pond.
The waitress brought us drinks – Ian had a beer and I went for a rose wine, which I wouldn’t recommend actually – it was so strong it was basically a red! We chatted and they brought us gorgeously spiced almonds which kept us going until our table was ready.
The restaurant itself is elegant and unpretentious. We were seated and ate our way through a whole box of baby poppadoms while we looked through the menu. I had taken a sneak peek and thought I knew what I wanted to order, but it was a tough decision!
For starter, I went for a duck confit with fennel bread (which tasted like a naan bread, toasted with honey on top – if you can imagine how good that tastes!) The duck was incredible – it just melted in the mouth, and the saffron flavours were just enough to give an Indian flavour without overpowering the duck. However, I have to be honest – I had food envy over this.
Ian had the chicken cooked three ways – a grilled fillet, a marinated supreme and a fried wing, with pipettes of lime juice. He let me try a little piece of each and they were all absolutely incredible. If I went again, this is what I’d go for!
For my main, I went for venison with aubergine fritters in a peanut gravy. Let me say that again: aubergine fritters, peanut gravy. It was like a satay sauce but better. Even the rice was incredible, and just look at that venison!
I probably would’ve liked it a little more rare, but it was juicy and tasted great.
Ian had the rump of lamb – sorry for the blurry photograph, he made me rush because he couldn’t wait to start eating! He also had a side of lentils and we had some garlic naan, which was the best naan bread I’ve ever tasted.
Now, in a typical Indian restaurant, you wouldn’t go for a dessert – one of those weird ice creams in a pre-packaged plastic tub – but this was just a little different. I went for a chocolate peanut butter tube, with cake, marshmallow and sugar cane ice cream. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Cake. Marshmallow. Ice cream. Just look at it.
I don’t think I need to say anything more.
I was so full afterwards that I managed one more small glass of wine before heading home and falling into an 11 hour sleep! I would thoroughly recommend Benares for a special occasion – it’s not cheap, there’s no way around that, but if you’re the kind of person who loves Indian flavours but has got a little tired of the usual curry, then give it a try – you won’t regret it!