Set amongst rolling hills of the beautiful Kentish countryside is the plush Indian restaurant Shampan at the Spinning Wheel. I was invited to review their new Indian A la Carte menu which boasts of interesting combinations created using locally sourced where ever possible.
Shampan is located about a half hour drive away from Bromley South overground station. One gets the relaxing feeling of getting away from the fast-paced rush that one feels while travelling around London. When you first walk into Shampan at the Spinning Wheel the fireplace instantly put you at ease while the sleek modern leather couches create an atmosphere of luxury and comfort. Perfect for pre-lunch or pre-dinner drinks the lounge reflects the owner Sufian vision to recreate the oomph factor you would experience while say walking into a modern 5 star in Mumbai. Highly regarded for its cuisine, it’s carefully crafted menu created by Chef Sadek Miah Shampan at the Spinning Wheel, has won many awards and accolades namely the British Curry awards in 2012 and Newcomer of the Year in 2013. They also have been awarded a certificate of excellence for 2015 by TripAdvisor.
It was a warm summer’s day and I choose to cool down with a Virgin Mojito and followed it up with a refreshing ‘Apple Julep’. A large basket of fried poppadums sprinkled with a tangy dry masala powder which had the right hint of green mango was so moreish it was almost impossible to stop at one. A host of chutneys and dips accompanied the poppadums that were constantly replenished by the very smart staff. Since we had a very long wait before lunch as some guests lost their way, I had another mocktail this time it was an Almost Amaretto sour but it was far too sweet for my taste.
After a tour of the beautiful premises we were seated and served some delicious starters. I choose the banana wrapped tilapia with coconut and coriander – a fine balance of delicate flavours in perfectly cooked fish. I have tried similar dishes at many Indian fine dining restaurants and ever so often it is not exactly what I look for – either the green chutney is not as pungent as it should be or the fish is not as perfectly cooked – somehow it’s always the seemingly simple dishes that are the most difficult to produce to near perfection. For seafood fans this dish is one you must most definitely try!
A look at some of the other appetisers on our table :
I am quite sure I could have had another portion of the tilapia had it not been for the massive portion size of my main – grilled duck breast with goan curry sauce and cumin mashed potatoes. The duck was cooked well and the mashed potatoes were lovely with the grilled potatoes. The sauce was not what I had hoped for though, ideally a Goan sauce should have been spicier and richer but the tomato over powered the other ingredients. I loved the panner and tadka dal though, which I mopped up with buttery aromatic tandoori naans (with another helping of the yum poppadums!) .
All this while I was eyeing the delicious curry and rice mains the other guests were tucking into – particularly the Punjabi red spiced chicken breast with sauteed vegetables and pilau rice. I also loved the sound of venison smoked and cooked in Jodhpuri spices with crips okra – ummm what a fabulous combination. Another delicious traditional main was the Kerala spiced king prawn with a thick coconut sauce served with a flavoured coconut rice – ultimate comfort food! The grilled mullet was main looked great and I tasted a little but again the tomato like broth surrounding it was not a hit.
It was a particularly warm summer afternoon and we were served some fresh fruit smoothie’s – again very generous size serves and quite delicious too.
A look at what the other guests enjoyed for their mains.
This is probably one of the most generous portion sizes of mains I have ever been served. Naturally that left no place for dessert which was an Indian dessert – samosa filled with gajar halwa with a dollop of delicious ice cream. I did not sample the samosa but did have some of the ice cream. The presentation of all the dishes especially the dessert was lovely and the service throughout was very courteous.
First opened in 2011, this destination restaurant has much more to offer than just great tasting Indian food and swanky interiors. It is the perfect venue for dreamy weddings and has a separate function room too called the Saffron Room with a lounge area called ‘The Mumbai Quarters’ – aptly so because when I first walked into to lounge area it reminded of some of Mumbai’s best loved posh five-star restaurants. The location offers ample parking space again ideal for business lunches or a family get together. The soon to be done up bridal suite promises to be just as lush as the rest of the venue. To book the venue for events or reserve a table you will find all the contact details on their website.
*With thanks to Humayun Hussain and Shampan for an invite. All opinions expressed are as always my own. No monetary compensation was provided for a positive review.