Thinking of a Father’s Day lunch treat? Nick finds a Mayfair Indian restaurant that is remarkably good and affordable

Twenty pounds for a set Thali lunch? In Mayfair? Surely not, but that was what I saw advertised on the website of Manthan.

Chef Patron Ghai has launched a new summer menu, full of very interesting dishes, but this lunchtime special Thali was also too tempting to ignore. You don’t get much for £20 anywhere in central London these days  and certainly not in Mayfair.

At that price I assumed Manthan would be at the Regent St end of Maddox Street, the border between the drones of Mayfair and the crazy cool cats of Soho, but in fact it is well into Mayfair proper. A confusing set of doors, one is not the entrance, had me pushing and pulling at the wrong one while diners inside looked at me with some apprehension fearing the worst.

Once in I found quite a small and narrow place but opulently decked out and welcoming. Most tables were occupied at 1 pm and it seemed everyone was on the Thali.

Thali means a selection of various dishes served on a platter. A little bit of everything, which is just right for lunch. The only choice is Vegetarian, Fish or Meat Thali, but that’s all the choice you need. What I particularly like is the speed of ordering like this, so simple and no dithering.

You’ve got to have a beer with a curry, wine is a waste of grape. Manthan surprised us by not offering the usual Cobra or Kingfisher, but a bottle of Flying Buffalo, brewed and bottled in India in the Himalayas and one of its ingredients is basmati rice A really nice crisp lager, well worth looking out for

After K had also tussled with the wrong door and got inside we ordered one fish and one meat Thali which share some common dishes, namely sag paneer, tadka dal, rice, raita and a tawa paratha. Dessert is served on the same platter, anjeer keer, a fig and rice pudding. A slice of fig is on it to make it clear it is dessert

All the veg dishes are very food, the sag paneer is creamy and well-spiced with the chilli heat noticeable, but not excessive.

We share our platters of protein.The chicken chop with cucumber salad and mint chutney is very good as is Fish Recheado, a classic Goan dish (Recheado means ‘Stuffed’ in Portuguese.) It’s very hot and spicy sea bass.

Main of Stone Bass fish curry is good and chunky, again carefully spiced to give depth, while a chicken tikka masala is very fine. We all know that it’s not an authentic Indian dish, it was allegedly created in the UK in the 1970s, but it’s still deservedly popular.

What with the paratha and the rice, it’s all a lot more filling than anticipated but we still manage the rice pudding which is wonderful and Proustian ( it brings back childhood memories).

We wander back out into Mayfair feeling pretty pleased at our lunchtime meal deal. If you’re in town then make it a lunch goal and if you’ve got dad in tow, then definitely make his day.