Travel & Life Digest

Sindhu at the Compleat Angler, Marlow

The Compleat Angler is an institution in Marlow. It sits like a white swan on the other side of the whimsical, white, suspension bridge. It's a destination for picture-perfect afternoon tea on the green lawns, by the Thames.
Atul Kochhar is the master-mind behind the uber-luxurious Benares. An elegant Indian restaurant, around one of London's most beautiful squares, in Mayfair.
The two have joined forces, creating Sindhu at the Complete Angler and quite frankly I haven't heard a bad review, since.
Forget what you think you know about Indian restaurants. This one is a riverside, wood-panelled room, with windows opening right over where the Thames overflows and roars with white foam. The windows are all along the room and it does feel like you are in a river barge; a very elegant barge, nevertheless.

Going over the menu attracted our interest; the dishes were innovative, yet the flavours were familiar, a nice play on the smells and flavours you think you know.  And the cocktails are all fragrant with mango, rose petal and lychee aromas, to keep you going while you are making your mind up.
Venison Samosa and Charred Chicory
The starters...
Venison Samosas with Charred Chicory - samosas are traditionally, heavy and stodgy pastries, stuffed with a mashed potato, onion and pea, spiced mixture. You can get keema (mince meat) samosas too, although not very often.
This version of samosa with venison was a real treat. The venison was minced really finely and the first bite was particularly fragrant, possibly with cinnamon and cloves. It was served simply with charred chicory, perfect balance that didn't take away from the delicious venison bites.   

The mains...
Tandoori Turkey Supreme with Tikka Masala Gravy - let's be honest, when we first saw the turkey on the menu we immediately thought...dry and too weak to handle Indian spices. We were wrong.
Firstly, there was a good chunk of it, no thin, dry slivers involved. It was juicy and because it was sitting on the gravy rather than  in it, it still maintained some of the Tandoori charred flavour. This was a lovely surprise!

Winter Vegetable Biriyani Parcel & Smoked Raita - Biriyani in a parcel? Well, it's the Christmas season after all! Biriyani is traditionally a layered rice dish, but in this case I was all tied up in a little pastry parcel that kept the rice soft and flavoursome.
I think that the raita was made with goat's cheese, instead of the traditional yogurt, which gave it the smoky flavour.

24Hours Lamb Shoulder, Spiced Turnip, Chickpea Hummus - the lamb! Oh the lamb!
Soft, succulent, in a velvety, spiced sauce, deep burgundy colour and a generous portion. That was our favourite dish all around!

The sides...
All mains come with Pilau Rice with golden, fried onions on top and the star of the show, Daal Makhani. Daal, was the one thing we still remembered form our visit to Benares, many years ago.
It involves black lentils, cooked for hours to soften and absorb all of the spices, tomato, ginger and garlic flavours, topped with cream for that final luxurious touch.
It's not an everyday dish and this was thankfully as special as we remembered it to be. Smiles all around.
Biriyani Parcel
Mint Paratha and Tandoori Roti
Turkey Supreme in Masala Gravy
The desserts...
Gulab Jamun Crème Brûlée with Pistachio Kulfi - let me start by saying that I am not a dessert person. Neither am I a gulab jamun person - it's too sweet and syrupy for me.
But I most certainly am a Brûlée person. This combination was light and the little bubbles of gulab jamun popped up here and there in the crème brûlée like planets in a child's colourful universe toy-set.

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