Award sponsored by Entegra

Restaurateur of the Year

 Samyukta Nair

Socca, MiMi Mei Fair, Bombay Bustle, KOYN, Jamavar

Restaurateur of the Year

Over the past few years Samyukta Nair has established herself as the restaurant queen of Mayfair, with five high-end but very different restaurants in LSL Capital’s portfolio, the business founded by Nair and her father Dinesh.

What makes these restaurants so special is their attention to detail and understanding of their location. From the characterful Bombay Bustle, inspired by the dabbawalas of India, that opened on Maddox Street in 2017, to MiMi Mei Fair, the super chic Asian restaurant that occupies three floors of a Georgian townhouse, every restaurant Nair opens brings something fresh and an extra touch of finesse to Mayfair’s dining scene.

This past year has seen her broaden her presence in the upscale London district with the opening of two more restaurants. The first, KOYN, is a contemporary izakaya housed in what was formerly both the US Embassy and Canadian High Commission, and is a two-floor restaurant whose design pays homage to Japan’s Mount Fuji. The second, Socca, is a contemporary Mediterranean restaurant launched in partnership with chef Claude Bosi earlier this year.

While both restaurants couldn’t be more different in terms of the style of food on offer or the décor, they do share the same DNA – namely being vibrant, elegant spaces where no expense has been spared. Nair’s skill is creating dining rooms that you want to sit in, that serve food that you want to, with almost every occasion covered.

In a recent interview with Restaurant, Nair described herself as being instinctive and says there was never a grand plan to open restaurants in Mayfair. “We started with what we knew, which was Jamavar and then Bombay Bustle and the rest have just grown from there because I realised, I like doing this,” she said.

“I wouldn’t be able to tell you where I was going next, it just unfolds and that’s the beauty of it. Each site is different and has its own voice but doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be something it’s not.”