The street food phenomenon initially gave those with skill, passion and a taste for innovation but little capital, the opportunity to make their dream a reality. Last year, the continuing popularity led to many high-profile restaurants realising that street food is no longer an afterthought, it’s a rival. 

Storming into the street food scene, Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, introduced a street food menu in the bar area of his restaurant, Benares. After a successful trial period, Benares’ street food menu now has a full-time home. It's no surprise because the bite size treats are simply exquisite. Each dish has been inspired by a different location in India - Benares itself, is named after a holy city in the country.

The Pickled Prawn on a bed of Crispy Rice Pani Puri pays homage to Mumbai and it’s a gem of a bite size treat, the tamarind sauce on the side sweetens it lightly. The semi-deconstructed Quinoa Salad with Spinach and a Red Onion Bhajia is a tribute to Kolkata and on presentation it looks fantastic. 

There are a lot of seafood options on Benares’ dine-in menu and the Grilled Curry Leaf Seabass and Kachumber Salad on the street food menu is a stunning tribute to Goa. The best options on the menu, however, are the classics: the Crispy Tikka Naan with a Smoked Tomato Dressing pays homage to the Punjab in North West India and the Lamb Kofta Roll with a Mint and Coriander Salad is a tribute to Lucknow. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The chicken has a lovely smoked flavour, while the lamb is easily the outstanding winner here.

If you find yourself in Mayfair, seeking something lighter than a hearty meal then look no further. The Benares street food menu is here to stay and I am extremely happy about that.

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