Home rather earlier than expected from part one of Parental 60th Birthday Bash number 1, lunch at Atul Kochhar’s restaurant, Benares.

I can wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommend it. 45 quid a head (including tip) at lunch for aperitif (rather nice gin-and-mint cocktail) three courses, coffee, and some rather nice wine. And, most importantly, really, really good food.

Sufficiently good, in fact, that I had the vegetarian option (I have been in an uncharacteristic not-eating-much-meat sort of mood for the last week or so) and frankly, think I came out ahead on every course. I could have done with another slice of Aubergine in the Aubergine steak and spring green puree that was my main, but that’s the only criticism I have of the whole meal. The tandoori broccoli with chilli and tomato chutney I had for a starter was easily the finest broccoli I have ever eaten – cooked to perfection, and perfectly spiced. To die for.

I suspect that Saturday lunchtimes may well be their only quiet time (and even then, by 1:30, the place was three quarters full), but it’s well worth the trip. I’ll be going back. One of the nicest and most interesting meals out I’ve had in ages.

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