Benares, on Berkeley Square, is a Mayfair institution despite being relatively young for such calibre at just 12 years old. Twice Michelin starred celebrity chef Atul Kochhar has been combining his native Indian roots with his love of British ingredients to create a unique and innovative modern Indian cuisine to much appreciation since 2003, and for good reason.
Along with partners Seedrs, HedgeBrunch invited 12 select guests to join us on a perfect spring day to sample the delights of this refined and delicate take on what has long been one of the nation’s favourite foods. Welcomed with spice infused passion fruit martinis all in attendance settled in quickly – especially given this lunch followed the Hedge Brunch Spring Classic the night before and there were a few sore heads!
Throughout, Seedrs, the revolutionary equity crowd funding platform – currently making serious waves across Europe in start-up funding – provided a fascinating insight into their business for the collected group. Taking a round table format over 3 courses of a perfectly balanced set menu and paired wines, Seedrs CEO Jeff Lyn told us more about their approach and fielded questions on how individuals can take their first steps as angel investors.
Settling in the Benares Berkeley private dining room, the meal opened with a coquettishly light yet rich combination of spiced lamb cutlet and samosa with mint chutney, balanced well by Mr Lynn’s opening remarks. If you sampled similar lamb at Atul’s former haunt (and birthplace of his first Michelin star) Tamarind or the celebrated East-end Tayab’s, you’ll know how well a such a mouthful can get one excited about the meal to come. With appetites whetted for both the following courses and the abounding investment opportunities at Seedrs, we moved on to a Benares-take on a British favourite: Chicken Tikka Masala. Now you’d be forgiven for thinking this is an unimaginative option that has no place on a Michelin starred menu, but hold that chagrin.
The delicacy with which this dish was presented was astounding. It was one of those experiences which is comfortably familiar at first site but, with spicing at such a deft balance and the accoutrements so well considered, that it was elevated to a whole new level. The food was light and bright on the plate, with an unctuous slice of flavoursome chicken accompanied by a spinach pulao and rice which achieved something unique for Indian food, in that it actually vied to be the star of the course. Each mouthful sang with earthy spice, yogurt-y zing and a depth of flavour that one rarely experiences with high-street Indian cuisine. And best of all – it’s Indian food you can eat at lunch without falling asleep afterwards.
By now, given all around the table were fund professionals, the Seedrs team were being tested to the limit on questions ranging from equity structuring, fee transparency, carry yields and valuation progression. Granted this is probably more than most investors would ask them but they have such a well thought through set up (you get that when lawyers become entrepreneurs!) that they have planned and structured to such as extent that there are few reasons not to like what they do.
Over wafer-thin slices of mango and coconut sorbet (a perfectly sweet yet palate cleansing finish to the meal) Ben Sears, Investor Head of Seedrs, unveiled some specific campaigns that are currently on the platform. One recently funded business, Oppo, chimed particularly well with the group. They raised funding on Seedrs and have done the impossible to create a healthy ice cream out of super-food ingredients. Maybe we’ll see it on the menu when we make the inevitable return to Benares?
To learn more about Seedrs please click here.
To learn more about Benares and enjoy a complimentary drink on arrival for bookings in May 2015 click here.
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