Again I am planning to talk about an overall experience in London – the one you tell your friends about when you return home from a vacation. We all know what to expect, at least to some extend, from the capital – meaning that we are aware of the fact that anything could happen in London. Here I am narrowing down the possibilities to ‘what can happen in West End’ starting with the hope to enlarge you notions of London and help you pick a direction when embarking on a journey of your own. Read about the venues I managed to visit in one night strolling around West End and either add them to your ‘to-visit’ list or rule them out relieved you saw this post just in time to take the right decision rather than finding out from experience how unsuitable a place is to your preferences.
First stop: Gymkhana Restaurant
I shouldn’t lie when talking about Gymkhana. At first my idea was not at all a ‘night out’ experience. I was simply planning to go have a treat at one of the most popular Indian restaurant I’ve heard of but never been to while taking a look at what the fuss is all about. But the mood Gymkhana left me in just did not tolerate an ending of the night – I found myself so exalted that I knew it was the perfect day to undertake another inspection of a London’s area. Why is that? Well, you know how last year Gymkhana inhabited the number one position of Restaurant’s Magazine Britain 100 Best Restaurants Rank? It was for a reason. The Indian restaurant allures from your first breath inside – you are sunk into a tale of east classy gourmet heaven with peculiar posters of cricket and polo games. I advise you to prepare well for your visit, don’t let yourself enter too hungry because it would be an unpleasant experience, seriously. Without taking a look at the menu you can order after consulting with your smell receptors – ‘I would like the spicy thing from that guys table, the rice side dish this couple’s sharing and I am not sure which one of the naans at the table behind are better, could you help me choose?’. But don’t try that. I don’t doubt it would be successful, it’s just that a view of the menu is worth it. Every meal is excellently described and presented, so much that it might cause serious trouble to the more hesitant souls. There are a few sections – A La Carte Menu, Lunch & Early Evening Set Menu, Tasting Menu, Game Menu, Raan and Biryani Feast Menu, Vault Tasting Menu and of course a desert menu. I was truly tempted by the Raan and Biryani Feast set (thankfully I voted against it after all, otherwise this would now be a review only of the restaurant after my closing of the night and heavily rolling over to my house…) but in the end I chose to have the Tasting Menu. For £65 I got 7 courses of classics (Tikka, Lentils, Curry and so on) mixed with a lot more innovative flavours like mango, sweet yoghurt and who knows what more. I am not confident in my abilities to describe how exquisite exactly the dishes were…soft, buttery, tender meat, light aromas, tons of saliva… It’s clear: go there.
I guess I should mention that the service was just as good but to be honest I doubt many people notice that… The place keeps high prices, yes, however – you know it can’t be any other way with a top restaurant offering such quality; perfect for a special dinner, don’t miss it. I should stop talking about Gymkhana now…
Have a look at Gymkhana’s Menu: Here
Second Stop: Zebrano Carnaby
Still flowing around spellbound due to Gymkhana’s magic I serenely accepted my friend’s suggestion to move it Zebrano Carnaby – a close by bar she had previously been to and left pleased – for a cocktail. Or two. I must say I was very pleased to. From the entrance we were warmly greeted, informed we had to wait a bit for a table and then not too long after lead to one. The place boasts an amiable food and drinks menu and not for at a very high price; you know we were not interested in food even a little bit but my friend claims it is a nice option for your dinner. Zebrano Carnaby’s vibe is warm, somehow intimate and homey and at the same time exciting – as if you’re at a house party along with all the other visitors and sharing something in common (usually the host but in this case I couldn’t quite work out what made me feel familiar with everyone around?). The bar is not only what you see on the main floor – there is another one downstairs where DJs do their art every weekend and a gorgeous dim-lit terrace perfect for smokers. Their cocktails were excellent – a lot of classics with a touch of modern tastes and the happy hour with 50% discount is not to miss. But after several cocktails and an unkown amount of shots it’s best to think twice for your next move…
Check out Zebrano Carnaby’s food: Food Menu
Check out Zebrano Carnaby’s drinks: Drinks Menu
Third stop: Cameo Club
A nightclub was in order – what a night out would it be without playing the Russian roulette called ‘Pick A London Nightclub’. Now, we had to face up to the fact that we stood no chance of crossing too much of a distance so we had to pick the closest club and the only one we agreed on, at least to some extend, was Cameo Club. Guess we should have made the effort to go a bit further…At the start, Cameo’s interior looked kind of promising – minimalistic yet inventive, neat and coloured in warm tones (though colder lights), not what you see at a night club. I thought we’d gone a bit too early and we had to wait or the place to fill but disappointingly it never did. I’m not a fan of those places where you lose track of which body part is yours and which isn’t but at a night club it is essential to be able to loosen up around a crowd and party. Although Cameo has planned to offer music for everyone’s taste and to stay open late for new customers or keen party beasts it seemed that this was not enough. The staff wasn’t that great either and frankly, there isn’t much I can say about Cameo – an ordinary night club you go if it’s close by or if you’re tired of crowds. Some may actually like it.
After the not very wild night we had, we decided to put an end. I hope three venues out of the 1289734 million around West End are at least a start and my post has managed to ease your choice. If not, you can always scroll trough our sections and choose bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs on your own. Good luck!