Chef Sameer Taneja to launch Indian fish restaurant “Fin: Fish and Spices”

Under the slogan “fish and spice”, Fin will offer creative dishes inspired by Indian fish cuisine and Taneja’s experience in cooking fish at western restaurants including Knightsbridge’s One-O-One, Koffmann’s at Berkeley and Joel’s Brewery at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Taneja, who has been in charge of the kitchen at Michelin-starred Mayfair Indian restaurant Benares for three years and regained its Michelin star last year, is looking for sites for the concept. Funding is not fully in place, but BigHospitality understands the owner of Benares is on board and is a possible funder.

“I come from Delhi, which is very far from the sea. I had no seafood education until I worked with Pascal Proyart at One-O-One,” says Taneja, who spent the most of his career working in kitchens serving Western cuisine.

“Unless you are on the coast, fish and shellfish in India are always frozen. And that’s almost always the case in terms of Indian food in the UK as well. But fish has become an obsession for me,” he adds, adding that he also did some internships with Nathan Outlaw when he was at the Capital Hotel (also in Knightsbridge).

Around 45% of Benares tasting menu dishes are fish or shellfish, and a la carte seafood is also popular at the restaurant.

Fin’s style of cooking will be similar to that of Benares, with Taneja offering creative rather than traditional dishes inspired by Indian cuisine.

“I want to use my philosophy and my cooking experience to create something special. It will happen,” he said.

“That has been my goal for several years. I did a lot of development work on it. In fact, we almost launched Fin a few years ago, but an investor pulled out at the last minute.

The chef hopes to work with a single supplier of high-quality fish to source mostly dayboat catches.

Fin will be located in a smaller site than that which houses Benares – which has an 80-seat dining room, bar area and four PDRs – and will be managed by a much smaller team. Mayfair is the preferred location, but Taneja says he would be willing to adapt the concept to a less upmarket location if necessary.

A full interview with Sameer Taneja will be published next month.

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