Last night I decided that moving out of London 7 years ago (in which time my flat has kindly doubled and of which I am reminded daily by some newspaper or gloating journo who clearly lives there) was the smartest move I ever made.
My reason: all the finest restaurants are now in the suburbs and many of them congregated in a happy ten minute drive around the Marlow area – and now we have a world-class Indian restaurant and moreover it has a VIEW. So now I don’t need to live in a shoe box – in fact I’m positively rolling in garden, spare rooms, fresh air, trees, neighbours that talk to me and I don’t need to guess which residents bay I left my car in the night before … so London people – stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Sindhu by Atul Kochhar opened its doors yesterday for the first time at the five star Compleat Angler Hotel in Marlow. In case you are not a big chef follower, tv cookery programme watcher or not up on your gastro Indian cuisine, Atul is the Master Chef who is universally acknowledged as transforming how we perceive and experience Indian cuisine. I tried his food before he received the country’s first ever Michelin star for Indian cooking and it was entirely a revelation. That must have been nearly 20 years ago and since that time Atul has grown his empire to encompass his flagship Benares in Mayfair, Indian Essence in Petts Wood nr Bromley, consults with P&O luxury cruises, is in Dubai and Mauritius and now of course Marlow. My lovely dining partner of the evening was an old property agent friend of mine from London bemoaning the market (teehee).
Essentially the menu is structured the same as the Michelin stared Benares with many of Atul’s favourite dishes. Created with Head Chef Gopal Krishnan, it is a sophisticated menu ‘designed to celebrate the very best of traditional indian cusine in a contemporary manner’. My guest started with Tiranga Murgh – Trio of Grilled Chicken with Mint, Saffron Infused Chicken Kebab and Crisp Kori Kempu which he described as an ‘extravaganza of flavour’. I had Paneer aur Simla Mirch – Tandoor Grilled Cottage Cheese with Pickling Spices and Soya Stuffed Baby Bell Pepper. I loved the complex mix of textures and the fragrant element lent by the pickled spices. My guest then moved on to one of Atul’s signature dishes, the Hiran ki Boti – Saddle of Venison with Cardomom and Mace, Turnip and Roast Jus which he declared one of the most distinctively flavoured meat dishes he had ever enjoyed. I chose one of Atul’s personal favourite dishes, Tandoori Khumb – Tandoor Grilled Shitake and Oyster Mushrooms, Wild Mushroom Khichdi. The mushrooms were succulent, delicious and grilled to perfection.
No Indian meal is complete without some side dishes and we chose Spinach Poriyal – Stir Fry with Mustard, Red Onion and Coconut which was delightfully warming and very seasonal and I can’t resist a Dal which comes in a choice of Signature Black or Yellow Lentil and came slow cooked and completely infused with flavour. The pricing is very reasonable for such high quality with starters from £7-£12 and main courses £12-£20 and side dishes all £5. The tasting menu if you are completely undecided is extraordinarily good value at £48 per person or £78 with pairing wines.
The space has been beautifully designed by HKDi Interior Design Associates, who like the name of the restaurant, took their inspiration from the rivers of India and the location of the back drop of the stunning Marlow Weir. Plush furnishings and vibrant canvasses with subtle muted tones have created a stylish and tranquil environment. The views are incomparable even at night with the twinkling lights and rush of water – the setting is simply spectacular. Atul has long been a favourite of mine and his new country outpost can’t fail – the combination of exquisitely cooked Asian cuisine and the elegant Compleat Angler Hotel will tempt the most discerning – country or city dwelling!
Design Restaurants Members and their guests enjoy a complimentary glass of Champagne when having lunch or dinner Tuesday to Thursday until the end of December.
Sindhu by Atul Kochhar at The Compleat Angler
Bookings available now by calling 01628 405405.