Who can resist an invitation to dine at a fine dining restaurant that faces Chelsea Harbour, make that Indian cuisine and its a double whammy.So come Thursday evening and hubster and me made our way to Chelsea Harbour, just one stop on the train from West Brompton it was a very quick journey for me from home.Bonus – time saved on commute is time spent sipping more wine 😉
We were seated at a table in the corner but still with a fairly good view of the harbour ,thanks to the weather playing spoil sport on us we couldn’t sit the balcony and risk our popadum’s flying out of the plate like little flying saucers could we? !
The friendly Manager Azad got us settled in with some white wine and our huge mixed meat and seafood platter.Hardly had we started with working our way through it that we had another platter on our table – the Bombay Street Food Platter with Paani Puri, Samsosa Chaat and Aloo patties . This mixed chaat -very Mumbai street food style platter certainly got us smiling.Its been ages since I had good, tasty pani puri and sadly not many places in London can get anywhere remotely close to the mouth watering taste of typical pani puri dripping and heaving with loads of mashed potato bits and spices floating around in ice cold spicy ,tangy flavoured liquid watery taste heaven …ummm Elco Pani Puri how I miss thee!
This is the first time ever I have tasted this hybrid version of Pani puri, with no spiced watery chutney ,which is the norm but they were still tasty, I could have done with more pani puri on that platter and done without the samosa and papri chaat altogether but then that would destroy the purpose of a tasting platter wouldn’t it?
The mixed meat and seafood platter was superb with the lamb chops totally stealing the show but the galouti kebabs were equally good , only I haven’t had them before in London…even better .These minced red meat kebabs in a complex mix of spices that is great dipped in the tamarind chutney.
R- L : Fish Cakes in batter deep fried,Tandoori King Prawns in a rich cheesy,creamy yoghurt marinade,fresh green spiced chicken,spicy red grilled chicken from the tandoor,Lamb Chops in a marinade which has seeped deep into the meat not charred but done just perfect – smoky,spicy,soft – basically perfect,Galouti Kebabs served with a side of cucumber and yoghurt dip, green mint coriander chutney and tamarind chutney.
The chef really did go a bit overboard and spoilt us royally, this spread of mains is proof that he was all set to impress us , all guns blazing. But honestly after I sunk my teeth into those lamb chops I didn’t need any more convincing that they know their spices and how to work them just right.
So spicy portuguese lamb curry,butter chicken ,dal makhani , fish curry with steamed rice, pulav and butter naan in full portions arrived at our table. In fact there was so much suddenly that we had to move and occupy 2 large tables! Ha!
Now for me faced with fish curry and steamed rice which is a meal that makes me blind to anything else I had to taste the lamb curry for as you who read me regularly have learnt by now, is a huge weakness- really huge . Humm Catch 22 situation? Yup!
So had to tear myself away from the hot fish curry sending invisible hands towards me to draw me in, I served us some dal makhni and butter chicken with the naan. I dread ordering naan in London because it is absolutely disgusting having to chew hard naam that is thick and lumpy but this naan was so light with papery layers and melt in your mouth delicious! How do you do it guys? want to let me in on the recipe? Think Not!
The butter chicken had loads of kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves ( much more than say Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe would ask you to add into your butter chicken),which cleverly balance the otherwise sweet gravy, this is almost how old Delhi style butter chicken is supposed to be , except its really easy to get it terribly wrong and an overtly sweet version means either leftovers have been given mew life by adding an onion puree or the chef tried some experiment that well umm went wrong. This butter chicken is great with the pulav we ate ,the pulav had a generous topping of freshly fried thin slender slices of onion sitting temptingly on the top and it was not an oily heavy pulav which is again a really good sign.
The dal makhani (black lentils in a thick gravy with loads of fresh cream) was very fresh and had a distinct twist to it, the deep fried garlic and onion gave an alternating crunchy and delicious punch as we worked our way through it with ease mopping large mouthfuls with the soft and layered naan, the thick gravy hiding in the folds of the naan just about as close to a moment of sheer foodgasm.
R- L : Spicy n Hot Portuguese Lamb Curry, Dal Makhani – which you see in the centre, Butter Chicken ,Fish Curry,Butter Naan.
Unfortunately by the time we got to the fish curry we were quite full but we couldn’t just let it sit there staring at us begging to be eaten! Now the creamy coconut thick gravy and the fresh fish which itself was perfectly cooked and tasty in itself was much sweeter than we make our curries in Konkan, I need atleast 4 small potently HOT green chillies in one cup of freshly grated coconut and coriander marinade for my curries. This fish curry nevertheless is very satisfying and perfectly paired with steaming hot basmati rice ,I suggest you abandon your spoons ,roll up sleeves and go desi style to truly enjoy this curry and rice. Dont worry if you muck up your wine glass with grubby fingers, Azad and team won’t mind and am sure the guests at neighbouring table will kick themselves for not ordering themselves a portion of this fish curry 😉
We had to stop eating now and I think we had slipped into a coma of carb induced happiness but Azad wasn’t going to let go of us just yet! The mention of hot ,freshly prepared gulab jamuns can make any self respecting foodie go weak in the knees surely? Throw in a rare find – Thandai ice cream and I use my old excuse that ice cream and gulab jamun can find a tiny little space in my full tummy and hide around other morsels of food which have just found their way inside. Hummm – gluttony? Of course! Guilty as charged!
The bang of crushed pepper in the cold Thandai ice cream with the warm gulab jamun is so so good. what is that you just asked? Oh yes – let me tell you what Thandai back home is all about – this dry fruit and saffron flavoured milk is traditionally prepared as an offering to Lord Shiva during the festival of Mahashivratri. During Holi however a rather notorious concoction is brewed by adding lots of crushed cannabis leaves to make what is called Bhaang – it is infamous for getting people drunk after they drink large glasses one after another thinking that it is nothing but an innocent little milk shake and KABOOM it suddenly hits you like a bolt from the blue and snap! An internal switch gets to repeat and whatever it is that you were doing or worse saying when the switch flipped ,its pretty much what you will continue to do on repeat mode for say the next few hours;) Sounds like fun,no? But relax this Thandai ice cream is all innocent and yumm with no naughty additives – alas 😉
It was good to see many other guests also working their way through the meat platter and the happy clinking of glasses around us. It was wonderful seeing the surrounding buildings with soft yellow lights throwing long dancing shadows on the now dark and beautiful waters of the Harbour. The madness and pace that is London seemed to fade somewhere far away.
If you looking for a fresh new place to get your Indian fix and would like to do it in style then head to Amani at Chelsea Harbour for a relaxing meal ,authentic Indian cuisine with touches of coastal Indian flavours thrown in,and stunning views of Chelsea Harbour thrown in free!
For those guests put up at The Windermere Hotel,especially this is an absolute treat, just turn a corner and your inside Amani,kills the headache of thinking about transport back to your room and allows you to have more wine – guilt free.
*With thanks to Amani for the invite and to Azad and his team for a fab evening.No monetary compensation was provided for this post.All views expressed are my own.