Check in with ...Karam Sethi
With his two siblings at his side, Karam Seth rose through London’s fierce restaurantuer ranks to create an empire worthy of global admiration.
If the Sethi’s are behind it, then you know it’s going to be good - such is the general consensus of London’s most avid foodies and harshest critics. The siblings’ restaurant dynasty has left the industry tongue-tied, but it’s Karem’s food, which have earned him multiple Michelin-stars at both Trishna and Gymkhana, that keeps the guests coming back for more
Which country most sticks out in your memory?
Sri Lanka. For somewhere that’s so close to India, I was pleasantly surprised how different the two countries are. It’s a very easy-going kind of island life that they live out there. The whole vibe reminded me of the Caribbean when I first went there.
What has been your favourite travel experience?
I love cricket, so it has to be a cricket tour to the Far East with a group of friends. We covered Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. We also had some down days away from matches which gave us an opportunity to properly see all these incredible cities.
Where is on your bucket list and why?
Japan, for the food, obviously. One of my first jobs was at Zuma in London, so I think it stems from that. I want to go there, explore a completely new culture and go on the bullet train, or “Shinkansen”.
“Bray in Berkshire is home to the Fat Duck and is where I had one of the best meals of my life. A full blown 20-courser.”
What is your go-to travel hack or packing tip?
I’m not one for packing light, but the lesson learned each time is you never need as many clothes as you think you’re going to.
Where are your favourite places in the UK?
I love London, simply for the sheer diversity of the food scene - in a single day you can eat your way around the world. I’m a keen Manchester United fan, so Manchester. They have the Curry Mile, full of amazing, authentic kebab shops. Bray in Berkshire is home to the relaunched Fat Duck and is where I had one of the best meals of my life. A full blown 20-courser. Amazing.
“La Fromagerie in Marylebone feels like you’re in a European market – you can still smell the sun on the vegetables.”
Where is your favourite London hangout?
La Petite Maison in Mayfair. No reservations here, you just walk in. The food is so fresh and light, if it’s a sunny day, you feel like you’re in Nice. It’s a special occasion, go for the whole roast rotisserie chicken stuffed with foie gras. It’s unbelievable.
And for a spot of culture?
You walk in La Fromagerie in Marylebone and you feel like you’re in a European market – you can still smell the sun on the vegetables. You could spend an hour in its cheese room before finally sitting down and having a meal. It’s probably the biggest champion of seasonality in London.
What does it mean to be a BA100 hero?
It’s great to see recognition for the London dining scene. I’m very flattered to be included with a lot of other talented people in their respective fields.
What does being British mean to you?
Britain is quite unique compared to anywhere else in the world – it’s a true melting pot. But it also means tennis at Wimbledon, cricket at Lord’s, rugby at Twickenham – all great sporting events that started here and are very representative of British culture.
What is your favourite memory of travelling with BA?
Flying to Sri Lanka was a great experience. The British Airways service is consistently excellent - it has all the hallmarks of warm, British hospitality.
What’s your favourite British dish?
An Easter roast dinner – lamb with asparagus, peas, wild garlic, Jersey Royals, some good gravy and a bit of cauliflower cheese.
What’s the strangest or most exciting food destination you’ve visited?
Walking the streets of India is exciting and strange at the same time, especially at night. During Ramadan in Lucknow - a Muslim city - the people go out to break their fasts and it’s an amazing time to eat there. We would pull up in our car, and be handed food through the window.