Food

Gymkhana is morally disgusting – and fortunately the food’s disgusting too

It’s revolting in the same way that eating in homage to apartheid South Africa or to commemorate the genocide of native Americans is revolting

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

Gymkhana is a fashionable Indian restaurant in Albemarle Street. It was, according to its natty website, ‘inspired by Colonial Indian gymkhana clubs, set up by the British Raj, where members of high society came to socialise, dine, drink and play sport’. This is revolting, in the same way that eating in homage to apartheid South Africa or to commemorate the genocide of native Americans is revolting. Not that this is exceptional, of course; these days no crime is so calamitous it cannot be seconded into an entertainment experience or themed meal. There is, after all, a cafeteria at Auschwitz which received the following review online: ‘They have a range of foods, from snacks, drinks, ice cream, hot dogs, burgers and meals. Plenty of seating.’ Ah, plenty of seating. It may be in the Talmud — the redemptive power of plenty of seating. Or maybe not.

The critics love Gymkhana. It has a Michelin star — not that this indicates anything beyond a skill with tiny hobbit food — and is national restaurant of the year in some stupid restaurant awards, known to human beings as poisonous PR puff, that I have retrospectively boycotted.


It looks, first, like an over-polished pub; a J.D. Wetherspoon in which an obsessive-compulsive has been let loose with Pledge. It is an ugly and depressing plethora of dark woods and leathers, which invites comparison with eating in a five-star or maybe seven-star coffin, in the company of the heads of dead animals, brought to you by the shotgun of some Maharaja of Jodhpur; a Vanity Fair death, if you will. There are photographs of cricket teams and polo teams on the walls alongside them; more death, in sepia. Further in there is deeper hell, near the loos — an engraving of a white couple carried around by Indians, who look as miserable as engraving, not the greatest of the visual arts, can convey; and it is all the sadder for it. Bah! Retro racist chic is awful and the tomb of Doge Giovanni Pesaro in the Frari in Venice does it better anyway. Giovanni, who is wearing a weird hat, is borne aloft by four black men in black marble, and if he could jump off his tomb and sprint to the airport to catch a flight to London, he would head straight for Gymkhana for more of the same. This ‘themed’ decor does not make me hungry so much as very angry; although I seem to be the only one taking colonialism tribute dining personally. Because Gymkhana is packed, largely with Indians and the grey-faced hedge-funders native to Mayfair, who are calmly drinking beer.

If Gymkhana is morally disgusting, happily, the food is equally disgusting; and I am not just saying that. If it were a fashionable and morally repulsive restaurant that served delicious food, I would tell you. But it doesn’t, and for this I am glad, because its customers deserve no better.

The poppadoms are like Walker’s crisps, but less charming; no one eats Walker’s as an act of nostalgia for a racist state. The bread, the rice, the potatoes: all these are edible, if inferior to those served in my favourite Indian restaurant, which is the Curry Paradise in Hampstead, which chooses muted rather than racist decor; but it is hard to screw up rice. Suckling pig vindaloo is as disgusting as it sounds, perhaps more so; Kasoori Chicken Tikka is that most tragic thing in Michelin star land, sub-Waitrose; Chicken Butter Masala was OK, but nothing could convince E it was actually cooked. I am fairly certain my orange juice was from a packet, although the service that brought it was excellent. Of course it was. Ideally, in due course, Gymkhana will become an independent state; until then it will stand as testament to human indifference and rice.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Gymkhana, 42 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JH; tel: 020 3011 5900.

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Show comments
  • Rupert_Napier

    Twenty years since the tragic death of the Spectator’s most memorable restaurant critic, Forbes McAllister, his acerbic tradition is beautifully maintained.

    http://youtu.be/6-T6D_eyFg0

  • ££££

    Christ, you sound like a right barrel of laughs.

  • LoseyGosey

    You cannot be serious. The decor is racist? I want this article to really make the rounds. People need to know. I don’t want to live a world where people are not educated. The population at large needs to know that some idiot out there reviewing restaurants when she should be working out a coffee shop scaring away customers with rape culture rants. I’ve never been to this restaurant but the only thing this write up has convinced me of is making it there as soon as possible. I really want to see how full of it you are.

  • Fawn Lopez

    Behold! It is the scary social justice warrior! Tremble at their white liberal guilt and high school feminism. Fear their ability to say mean things about you from a safe distance. Be amazed at their talent for being the most miserable human beings on earth. For there are no more gutless and crass people than the social justice warrior. Always angrily tilting at windmills.

    Oh, and perhaps Ms. Gold is so angry because she is quite obese? She should stay away from restaurants for her own health.

    • Ben Waymark

      Fat jokes? Does high school feminism really warrant high school humour?

      • jboswell

        Yep.

        • James Boswell Esq.

          I concur.

  • Fenton!

    Oh get off your high horse, Tanya. And guess what, honey, as regrettable as it is that the native Americans had to be dealt with, they were mainly extremely savage people that did not know decency or the rule of any law beyond the tribe, and we could not have had a liberal democracy in N. America unless they were contained and conquered. You would prefer that we still scalped people and boiled them in cauldrons as a way of getting on? Grow up.

    • Ben Waymark

      You know that John Wayne movies didn’t really portrait natives with any sort of accuracy right ….

      • Fenton!

        I’ve never seen a John Wayne movie. I have talked to third-generation Texan ranchers about what the Indians did, as we looked at old photos from those days. Indians were generally not very nice people by our standards, even if Fennimore Cooper found them honourable in their own way. Some of them were skunks. People don’t want to hear it, they’d rather view them as pandas or zebras.

        • Ben Waymark

          John Wayne movies are great, but their portrayal of natives aren’t very accurate. Natives cultures varied hugely from region region and from time to time. The Boethuk (sp?) of Newfoundland tend to be small bands of hunter and gathers that lived peacefully on a small Island. The Salish (sp?) tribes in the American North West enslaved their neighbours and where quite the bastards (but made lovely totem poles), but also had innovation in agriculture that groups in the plains, for example, hadn’t even dreamed up. The Navaho had a lot of the hallmarks of a civilization (towns, transportation routes etc). To say the “Indians are…” is probably totally true, totally false, and somewhere in between depending on who exactly you mean.

          Although there is that funny view you get from loonie-left that suggests that anything foreign must be better than us and someone we are the only culture capable of racism or oppression ….

          • Fenton!

            Good points, and you’re so right in your last statement. Yes, there was a great deal of variation, and Indians being individuals had their own merits as well. That said, even the Navajo certainly rank as ‘primitive people’, considering their knowledge of the world, their material culture, and their lack of philosophy and political sophistication.

    • Vlad

      IT WAS GENOCIDE. STOP justifying the wrongs of your people to make yourself feel good. Americans genocide the ass out of the native Indians. You can tell yourself countless lies, but you will never be able to lie to yourself.

      • Ben Waymark

        In fairness, most of the genocide was unintentional genocide caused by the natives attention to personal hygiene and Europe’s total lack of thereof. Still, they got us back with tobacco, corn and Syphilis …

        • Rex

          It was because they had no natural immunity against diseases brought in by European settlers.

        • Swanky

          Genocide requires mens rea or intent to kill, a malice aforethought. But there was no such mens rea in the Age of Discovery and the subsequent Enlightenment. Therefore the accused is innocent, Your Honour.

          P. S. Regarding ‘attention to personal hygiene’: you mean they used soap and Oil of Olay? You mean the Mexica (commonly and erroneously known as Aztecs) didn’t actually cut out living people’s hearts? I think you’ll find that history disagrees.

          • Ben Waymark

            Not sure of the popularity of soap and Oil of Olay, but most natives did have a concept of bathing then went beyond baptism and funeral rights and didn’t share housing with farm animals (probably because they didn’t have farm animals). Cutting out living people’s hearts doesn’t suggests a lack of personal hygiene, unless you neglect to wash your hands afterwards :-D.

            But you are most correct that there no such thing as unintentional genocide in law. As a rhetorical device, the phrase makes perfect sense and I stand by it. 😀

          • Rex

            Hey, you can be nicely bathed, shaved and dressed in your best clothes while you do your daily ‘carve heart out of still living sacrificial victim to appease the sun god’ ritual!

          • Swanky

            Yes, I gather they had a big line in Quetzacoatl feather headdresses and the like. But savage is as savage does!

          • Rex

            The point is about personal hygiene, not barbaric behaviour..the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

      • Simon_in_London

        Agreed;most of the Amerindian tribes were destroyed; that’s genocide. British colonisation of Australia also resulted in genocide of most of the Aboriginal groups who had been there. That it was not ‘intentional’ is irrelevant, the ‘gens’ (peoples/cultures/tribes) were destroyed, and it was the inevitable outcome of British colonisation.

        • Fenton!

          That it was not intentional is totally relevant: that’s why manslaughter or negligence causing death is not the same as first-degree murder, and we don’t have the death penalty for manslaughter.

          • Simon_in_London

            I’m not advocating the death penalty for the Australians or Americans. I don’t want to hurt them at all. I just want it recognised that their arrival largely destroyed the gens of the previous inhabitants. We (Anglos) should face up to this.

          • Fenton!

            I should think not! See my latest comment at the top of the thread.

          • Fergus Pickering

            And having faced up to it, what then. I suggest a shrug and pass on.

          • Simon_in_London

            Bearing it in mind and showing a bit of humility, rather than moral posturing and lecturing other nations for their misdeeds, or jumping into invasions like Iraq 2003 convinced that everything will be great because we’re so good, would be a good thing. For instance, current American claims to be “The Indispensable Nation” are really annoying. Or the immense hypocrisy regarding other nations’ dealings with their own problems. I don’t want Americans wringing their hands in guilt – in fact white Australians do that too much already, over minor stuff like mixed-race children have been put in boarding schools for their own presumed benefit. Bearing in mind that the world is not a nice place, was not put here for our convenience, and that all our ancestors did bad things for our benefit, would be salutory.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Salutory with what concrete result?

          • Ben Waymark

            Why just the Anglos? Surely the entirety of the UK shares blame, as indeed all of Europe and all of humanity. Even better, let’s confess our wicked and manifold sins which we have grievously committed in thought, word and deed by what we have done and what we have left undone …. then move on. 😀

          • Simon_in_London

            Like most people I use “Anglo” when “Anglo-Celtic” would be more accurate (and I’m half Anglo, half Celt personally). That said, while Anglo settlers and soldiers are often more Celt than Saxon, the men in charge have tended if anything to be Anglo-Norman, more Scando-Germanic than Gael.

        • Ben Waymark

          There were specific cases where genocide was intentional.

          Beothuk in Newfoundland come to mind, but there are others as well. There are also examples of Natives trying to wipe each other (American North West had this problem, with a number of tribes near extinction thanks to the Haida –or maybe Squamish or Salish I can’t remember now). People are bastards sometimes, there is a comforting universality about that.

          Some argue that converting natives to Christianity is tantatmount to genocide or is ‘cultural genocide’, but those same people would probably tell me to check my white male privilege and feel guilty for things I’ve never done and liking ‘black’ music so I tend to laugh at those people rather than take them seriously …

          • Simon_in_London

            Yes, agreed. BTW I suspect that the Greenland Norse suffered violent genocide at the hands of the expanding Inuit – we now know the ‘Skraelings’ were recent arrivals to the area, and had just wiped out the ‘Paleo-Eskimos’ when they reached Greenland. There’s a lot of it about, and certainly Europeans can be victims as well as perpetrators.

          • Ben Waymark

            steady on, next you’ll be suggesting that Europeans didn’t invent slavery in Africa and that Arabs had, in fact, been enslaving Africans (or more often buying slaves from other Africans) for centuries before Europeans even knew there WAS a sub-Saharan Africa ….

            I am still awaiting an official apology from the Middle East and compensation for my ancestors labour that was undercut as a result of those pesky Arabs …. 😀

        • JohnPedant

          Simon: “the ‘gens’ (peoples/cultures/tribes) were destroyed”.

          Latin gens is actually singular, not plural. Sorry. It comes with my name. But here in South Western Ontario the Six Nations (http://www.sixnations.ca/) are still alive (admittedly, small credit to us), if not entirely well (big discredit to us).

      • Fenton!

        You, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of lying to your own self.

      • Fergus Pickering

        If it was genocide it wasnt very succesfull. There anre injuns all over the place.

    • Gerschwin

      Yeah, but they read the Guardian.

  • southseabubble

    I’m so disappointed: I thought this was going to be about Tanya and her little pony.

  • BoiledCabbage

    Fool. You could have gone to Southall and had something brilliant.

    • GraveDave

      It’s true. A few years ago Southall won an award from Time Out for the best place to eat Indian. Though the Uxbridge Road is pretty dire.

  • Christopher Lennon

    My late father was born in India, at the height of the Raj (in the reign of Victoria, Queen and Empress). I went on a personal pilgrimage, to see where he was born and brought up and to find and visit my grandmother’s grave. I explained this to Indians I met. “And why was your father born here?” they invariably enquired. “Because my grandfather was in the British Army.” Response? “Oh, that’s interesting; you are very welcome. The British did a lot for us and we have done a lot for ourselves since they left … etc”. No hostility, only friendliness. And Grandma’s grave? Well looked after, with an office at the Christian cemetery open all hours to help with enquiries – they produce the burial records and I found another relative there. Why on earth is a restaurant evoking a bygone age “morally disgusting”, just because some of us retrospectively regard our grandparents’ outlook
    as rascist, though they lived and died before the term was coined? Ridiculous.

  • Daviejohn

    Go and lay in a dark room and compose yourself, Save your diatribe for something worthwhile. You appear to need counselling, or a different job.

    • Salmondnet

      She has already has counselling and documented it in the Guardian. Clearly it hasn’t worked.

      • Daviejohn

        Heh heh, documented in ‘The Guardian’ enough said, scary . Thanks

    • Fenton!

      ‘Go and lay’? Since when did Brits use ‘lay’ instead of ‘lie’? I thought it was an uneducated American tic* but it seems to have migrated.

      *Educated Americans use ‘lie’ as the intransitive form.

      • Daviejohn

        You are absolutely right of course, I am just pleased there are still pedants around to notice my error. 🙂

        • Fenton!

          Titter!

  • Has Lord Freud resigned yet?

    • GraveDave

      No, his penance is a job in Poundland for a week for a pound an hour . Helping the disabled to pack their shopping away.

  • John_Page

    One paragraph about the food. Phil Space is alive and well.

  • Salmondnet

    ” This is revolting, in the same way that eating in homage to apartheid South Africa or to commemorate the genocide of native Americans is revolting”
    Dear me. So there is equivalence between Indian colonisation and native American genocide? There really is no limit to bien pensant hyperbole is there Fortunately for the restaurant no sensible individual will take any notice of the review of the food in the face of this tendentious nonsense.

    • Fenton!

      Cough. There WAS no genocide.

      • Salmondnet

        If you say so, though wiping out the Plains Indians’ main food source looks remarkably like an attempt at it. Native Americans were certainly dispossessed of their land and marginalised in a way that Indians were not, even during the Raj. Winners write the history books, so I will let you decide what terminology is appropriate, European colonisation of America really can’t be justified on the grounds of spreading liberal democracy. It wasn’t undertaken on behalf of some universal political ideal. It was a straightforward land grab, and one that tolerated slavery until about 150 years ago. Native Americans never threatened the colonists in the way that the colonists threatened them. Perhaps they would have done if they could, but they lacked the resources.
        The 19th century was brutal and ruthless (though less efficiently so than the 20th) and the USA was a product of that ruthlessness. There is no point in pretending otherwise.
        But well done. You have succeeded in make me look like a liberal. Quite an achievement.

        • Fenton!

          Sorry, I just don’t agree with your assessment and I assert that the facts speak otherwise. There was no possibility of coexistence, and to the extent that we claimed this continent for civilization, would you have had it any other way? Should we have just left them to it and b-ggered on off back to Europe again? To face poverty and persecution, the ills that most early Americans had fled from in the first place? ‘Land grab’ — what else could we have done, registered all the savages to vote? Your statement denying ‘some universal political ideal’ is simply incorrect. The ideal is codified in our Constitution. It can be summed up as freedom and equality for all citizens. Indians are citizens now. When they were savages, they couldn’t have been.

          You are correct about the 19th century, which was also an era of high refinement however — in some ways more refined than our current times. And to the extent that there was brutality, the Indians nearly always bested the Americans on that score. Many people romanticize Indians because they see them as exotics, like jungle birds or something, and know nothing of what these people did. The raids that Indians made, stealing food and killing every domestic animal they could find (the homeowners usually hid with their guns while this went on, as they were outnumbered), are not the common stuff of talk about the natives.

          • Graeme Pietersz

            Jefferson also believed that blacks were inferior,

            The Indians
            were raiding people who had stolen their land, and taken away their food
            sources. I assume that you believe that people should simply peacefully
            hand everything over to an invader? I assume that if a persecuted
            people invade the US now you would think they were doing the right
            thing? I assume you think that all Mexicans fleeing poverty to the US
            are justified as well.

          • Angry Viking

            There was no possibility of coexistence

            It seems to have been managed in Canada.

          • Simon_in_London

            Maybe because most of Canada is unsuitable for farming? But I take your point. New Zealand is arguably also a good example of a sort of coexistence, made possible because the Maoris were sufficiently well organised, and highly aggressive, that a truce & peace treaty was possible. But the invaders still dominate and still take the best bits, just as the Anglo-Saxons took the best bits of Britain from the Picts & Romano-British…

          • Angry Viking

            Yes, the British Empire – even in the early days – was reluctant to conduct outright massacres. One can only wonder how the Native Americans would have fared if the American Rebellion had failed.

          • Simon_in_London

            It’s not surprising most of the native tribes fought for the Loyalists. Australia has also been very restrictive at allowing whites to acquire property in the Northern Territory especially.

          • Linda Miller

            Untrue – no colour bar in property purchase in the N.T. ‘tho the vast majority of the indigenous people – the majority of the population – cannot afford it. Guess you’re simply opposed to land rights for aboriginal people.

  • nickwilde

    Is this review by Angela Eagle, writing under a nom de plume?

  • Rod Sherrin

    Brainless. Who paid her for this drivel? UberBrainless.
    I’d be inclined to consult m’learned legal advisers.

    • Fenton!

      I think she’s probably just been good for business!

      • GraveDave

        My thoughts too.

  • Lawrence in Arabia

    Surely the silliest restaurant review I’ve ever read in my life.

    • GraveDave

      Unless she’s being paid by Gymkhana itself .

      • Lawrence in Arabia

        lol, an example of guerrilla marketing at its finest

        • Flower Powerchild

          worked on me

  • Simon_in_London

    The British Raj in India is the moral equivalent of Genocide? Hmm.

  • What kind of stupid this Tanya Gold is?

    • GraveDave

      Tanya Gold (born 31 December[1] 1973)[citation needed] is a British journalist. She was educated at the independent Kingston Grammar School and Merton College, Oxford and has written for British newspapers including The Guardian, the Daily Mail,[2] The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times[3] and the Evening Standard.

      In 2009 she was highly commended in the Feature Writer of the Year category at the British Press Awards.[4] In 2010 she won Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards[5] and was also nominated for Columnist of the Year.[6]

      Well, something definitely went wrong on the Speccie.

    • Ivan Ewan

      Didn’t Tanya Gold have a very brief stint as a truly horrible comedian? The name rings a bell. If true, this makes me think my initial impression of the review as satire might be accurate.

      EDIT – cripes, I need to give my memory some chocolate as a reward. Here, read about Tanya Gold’s embarassingly bad stint as a stand-up comedian:
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/edinburgh-festival/7941651/So-how-hard-is-it-to-be-a-stand-up-comedian.html

  • Rex

    I’m an India based Indian and I approve of this restaurant’s theme.
    Apparently recreating the ambience of an old time club is exactly the same thing as celebrating the excesses of the Raj towards natives.

    Enough of your white guilt already.

    • GraveDave

      Tell her Harry.

  • Quasi-mojo

    Where are you Fenton? Mate, can we meet up to chat? You are clearly unbelievably intelligent and well thought-out, and you seem to be wise in your very very old age – because surely you must have been there on the pioneering front to sort out those savages many moons ago! …God forbid I should be boiled – after being scalped, so thank you and the rest of North America for your democratic sanctuary! I only wish the Australian government would be so straight-shooting about what the British did in Australia with those Aboriginal dreaded savages, too. Oh wait a minute… in between the boiling and the scalping, it is indeed great that you ‘and your mates’ were also able to brutally rape the women and then orphan off those disgusting children in the Christian equivalent of war camps! You’re a star! Thanks for the free nuggets of wisdom you have posted thus far – I will use them to live my life to the full.

  • whs1954

    The Indian Raj was the same as apartheid South Africa? Hmmm. Why stop there with such utter tripe? You could have said it was Auschwitz and the gulags all rolled into one.

    • Gerschwin

      Suspect if the portions aren’t big enough she will.

  • MenAreLikeWine

    Clickbait

  • gram64

    What an utterly absurd review. To compare Indian gymkhana clubs with Auschwitch is ‘revolting’, to say the least.

    What, pray, is ‘revolting’ about Indian gymkhana clubs? Tanya Gold doesn’t say. One infers she doesn’t like the British Raj. Perhaps she should acquaint herself with Professor Niall Ferguson’s ‘Empire’, which will acquaint her sadly uneducated mind with the enormous political, moral, economic, and social benefits brought to the Indian sub-continent by British rule.

    The Spectator used to be known as a magazine for right-wing penseurs. Now it seems all too often to be a magazine for vacuous Hampstead poseurs like Tanya Gold, peddling their ‘revolting’, hackneyed, left-wing guilt complexes.

  • CharlesOJ

    I think the author doesn’t know what Gymkhana clubs are.

    They are “colonial era”. Not colonial, per se. And they still exist. They are sports clubs.

    The Bombay Gymkhana club:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombay_Gymkhana

    Delhi
    https://delhigymkhana.org.in/

    There are others in Lahore, Chennai and Karachi.

  • Holly Clare Thompson

    How does this woman get paid to do this? Her writing makes me want to bang my head against a wall.

    • GraveDave

      Her writing makes me want to suck Nick Griffin’s eyeball for a gobstopper.

  • mumble

    I have been in South Africa since 1980 and am at a loss, and curious, to know what “eating in homage to apartheid South Africa” might possibly mean.

  • mumble

    What, is one expected to eat standing up at Auschwitz, or what?

    What a silly review: loads of bad-tempered, pre-existing chip-on-shoulder dragged in by the ears and dumped into an odd, innocent-bystander context.

    Calling a London restaurant “Gymkhana” isn’t the worst way of saying “Indian food for the English”. What’s wrong with that?

  • Chris

    Did you get paid for this load of tripe?

  • Ms Gold you need to take your medication a.s.a.p. before you write anymore rubbish like this.

  • GraveDave

    Are you, or have you ever been, a member of UAF OR ANL?
    ffs, get a life dear.

  • EbolaCzar

    What is this foul shitlibbery and why is it in my Spectator?

  • Alistair Kerr

    This article is so ridiculous and unhistorical that I have to conclude that the author is a very subtle and mischievous humorist, who has written it tongue in cheek as an elaborate joke, to see how many people would fall for it, take it seriously and be outraged by it. If so, good on you Ms Gold! You succeeded brilliantly. You fooled quite a number of people. Only a few us seem to have seen through it. And you gave me and some of my historian friends a good laff. We certainly do not take your review seriously, which I am sure was not your intention anyway. This is wit of a high order, “le rire dans l’ame”. Hats off to Ms Gold.

    • Hague’s Catamite

      Don’t bother “seeing through it”. Miss Gold is a Marxist Jew and belongs nowhere else but in Ed Miliband’s bed (naturally after the springs, bedposts, floor, beams and supporting structure have been considerably strengthened. Withstanding the landing impact of a 747-8 should just about suffice to cope with this lard arse!)
      She was up at Merton? This great college has sadly become yet another socialist sh*thole pipped to the post only by Wadham and several others thanks to an infestation by commie dons and the brain-dead leftist student stock they succeed in recruiting.

  • Hague’s Catamite

    Gold comes across like some sort of embittered leftist feminist. Is that really the sort of pool of people “The Spectator” wants to chase?

  • Fenton!

    I guess there are two points that people miss regarding the Amerindians. (Yes, their fate is sad, and yes, there are very few of them and those that remain are shall we say genetically much blended.)

    1. Unless we were going to give up on the entire continent of North — and South — America, someone was going to have to change their way of life. You can’t have nomads and hunter-gatherers with large territories in the midst of a society modelled on Europe. You can’t tolerate the tribal warfare they engaged in — including the most dreadful tortures — in the midst of a law-abiding, do-unto-others Enlightenment political culture. Something had to give. What had to be lost was the savagery, not the civilization. Some people claim to regret this. I don’t.

    2. In bringing a more advanced and ineffably more decent way of life to the continent (we don’t do raids as a matter of course; we don’t consider others our enemies simply because they are outsiders; we have notions of human rights; we have techné beyond the primitives’ imagining; we have refined culture and a commitment to the rational ordering of life), we ensured the thriving and survival of that way of life. Without the strength of American-continental freedom, would there be as much freedom in the world today? Would we have had a champion of freedom in the world such as the Americans and Canadians have been? Would there have been a model for other countries to pattern themselves on and be inspired by? I say No. The shot first fired in the American Revolution was the Shot Heard Round The World.

    • Simon_in_London

      “Unless we were going to give up on the entire continent of North — and South — America, someone was going to have to change their way of life. ”

      If you had to do it over again – take a continent over from the natives, replace them with us – would you do it?

      • Fenton!

        Stupid question. I’ve already answered it. Why don’t you read what I wrote?

        • Simon_in_London

          Stupid answer. 🙁

          • Fenton!

            No. The world is better off with more freedom in it, and more good sense. You would like to live among savages? I’m sure you can find them somewhere. Hasta la vista.

      • It’s a rare nation on the rise that knows when to stop.

  • Would Nirad Chaudhuri have enjoyed it?

  • MM

    Oh fuck off and stop being so wet. On several recent trips to London I have been in, only at lunchtime, and found the restaurant quite pleasant.

  • This magazine has declined terribly since the days of Meredith Townsend. It is a common griffin mistake to undress completely on entering a gymkhana. However, as my old friend Max Muller has pointed out, the word has no Greek etymology at all.
    It is regrettable that some natives, like Barrister Gandhi, have taken to exposing themselves if they think Sahib log might be in the vicinity and, when this happens, it is entirely bon ton, to assume a recumbent position and get some of the locals to carry you around.
    Still, if one does tend to end up naked in a Curry House- Albemarle St. is probably the place to do it.
    Personally, I blame Lloyd George. This country is going to the dogs.

  • ag

    Get used to it, people- this is how your grandchildren and great grandchildren will think, and rightly so!

  • Flower Powerchild

    the author of this restaurant review forgot to take her pills
    I have rarely read anything this idiotic, irrational and hysterical.

    Maybe she should stay away from ALL FOODS IN THE WORLD, since obviously at one time or another any dish could have been connected to a historical context of oppression, persecution and killing.

    If she only eats at restaurants that only serve historically untainted dishes, she’ll starve to death!
    But, she has awaken my curiosity and I am going to try it out.

  • Guest

    As a British Jewish woman, I would like to apologise to all the readers for this garbage. I feel ashamed and perturbed by Miss Gold’s comparisons, and think she should go and seek help as soon as possible.
    To compare Colonial India to Auschwitz extermination camp, is sick!
    Does she have mental problems?

  • RaymondDance

    Tanya Gold wants to write agitprop for some seventies rent-a-trot rag. But there aren’t any anymore and, if there were, there’d be no money in it, so she tries to smuggle her childish politics into restaurant reviews. What’s baffling is why anyone employs her to do that.

    • rnh17

      She seems to generate enough controversy to keep herself in business.

  • Tomas Harold

    The person who wrote this seriously needs to get a gip!

  • Simon_in_London

    Oh well, the review was worthless but at least it prompted some intelligent discussion in the comments. >:)

  • William Welton

    White Privilege? White Guilt? The strong and the fortunate should help, not exploit, the weak and unfortunate. But, besides the glaring fact that we are entering an age of Asian supremacy, let’s not forget about We’re Lucky To Be Alive Privilege. Every human being has ancestors who looked the other way, begged, betrayed, raped, murdered, pillaged, sold-out and enslaved their way to where they are today. Rich white people are currently more privileged than most, but their ancestors obtained that privilege like many non-white civilizations; through luck, invention, hard work and, ultimately, bloody force of arms. So when a Native American of Comanche descent, an African American of Ashanti descent, a Southern African of Zulu descent or a Brit of Celtic descent complains about the oppressor, he should pause and think for a moment of his own people’s bloody record. We are one race, with many classes and cultures. We need to learn from the past, not live in it, and instead of dividing and vilifying we need to help everyone fulfill their potential for contribution and happiness. One important lesson from the past that has nothing to do with race is that allowing too much wealth, power and opportunity rest with a few individuals is a recipe for violent and chaotic revolution.

  • Al Bowlly

    Wtf? I clicked on the Spectator and got http://www.Dave.Spart.com.

    • Guest

      Wrong link.

  • Roger Hudson

    Use of the word ‘rac*st’ is itself offensive, like calling someone a ni**er, k*ke, qu**r or n*zi. As a restaurant review it was pathetic, how much did the meal cost?

  • Anthony Cardew

    What a very silly commentary. There is nothing “racist” about either the name or the restaurant. The name is an assimilation of the first syllable of gymnastic (gym in Greek means naked) and the Hindustani Gend-Khana which means ball-house, the name given in India to a racquet court. The restaurant, which is patronized by many people whose roots are in the Indian sub-continent, is excellent and deserves the recognition it has won.

  • JohnPedant

    “If it were a fashionable and morally repulsive restaurant that served delicious food, I would tell you.”
    That is the crucial question. That and the concomitant question of whether she is being honest when she tells us that she “would tell” . Like other respondents, I want to go and eat there after reading her review. Not because I deplore her politics (I actually have some sympathy with them), but because she has made me curious. Yes, of course the privileged classes are wicked. That’s what makes them enjoy (all too wickedly) the good things of life, at least those that gratify the five senses (and maybe other pleasures besides). Food gratifies at least one (usually more) of the five senses, and rich people usually have high standards (though I confess to having fond memories of pie ‘n’ mash from my working class English childhood, ah those were the days, and no political crosses to bear!). But I digress. My mouth (thanks to this review) is now watering for curry. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would be wondering if this review were an inside job set up by the restaurant owners. It would be a brilliant tactic!

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