Being a huge fan of flavour, taste and texture I’m naturally drawn to Indian cuisine yet finding vegan friendly restaurants in the UK can be rather tricky. As time passes more brands, chefs and establishments are turning towards a meat and dairy free diet and 2018 has seen the biggest rise in veganism ever which is very promising. Having thoroughly enjoyed the vegan tasting menu at Hawkyn’s Restaurant in Amersham by chef Atul Kochhar I was pretty excited to come to Marlow to see what Sindhu had to offer.
Atul Kochhar is a British based critically acclaimed chef, restaurateur and television personality and the second Indian chef to receive a Michelin star. He combines his passion for the very best of traditional Indian cuisine with his love of using only the finest British ingredients to the Sindhu Restaurant in Marlow with an uplifting contemporary twist. Situated on the River Thames within the very elegant Macdonald Compleat Angler Hotel opulently wood panelled restaurant is the most stunning setting for a long lunch with friends or a romantic evening for two.
Arriving for our lunchtime reservation we parked in the hotel carpark and the immaculately dressed waiting staff greeted us through the glass frosted restaurant doors where we were led to our table. The immediate view of the river, fine tableware and meticulous attention to detail was breathtaking and the staff all attentive, welcoming and passionate about service; it was an absolute pleasure to discuss the menu, chefs recommendations and dietary requirements for which we both decided on the seven course tasting menu. Within minutes of arriving for lunch the restaurant filled with enthusiastic diners, couples, families and work colleagues alike and there wasn’t so much as a single spare seat – testament to the popularity and reputation of Sindhu.
As we were driving we accompanied our meal with a mocktail, or non-alcoholic cocktail, and bottle of still water for the table. I had the Rasbhari of fresh raspberry puree, lychee juice, apple juice and a touch of caramel followed by the Shahatoot Lemonade of fresh blackberries with lemon and vanilla and both were beautifully fruity, sweet, rich and uplifting as we snacked on poppadoms and a selection of pickles and sauces whilst enjoying the spectacular views. This was shortly followed by a complimentary slightly spiced soup pleasantly served in a cup and saucer with the vibrancy of sweet carrot, cumin and creamy lentils and ignited the taste buds prior to our meal.
My first three courses were the Tandoori Portobello Mushroom followed by the Artichoke Pakora, Lentil Wata, Grilled Pepper with Coconut Moilee Sauce and Purple Sprouting Broccoli and finally a Pomegranate Granita. What can I say? Moist, succulent, creamy, uplifting and tantalising; from the delicate mushrooms to the tender broccoli, glossy artichoke and crisp pakora each flavour and texture combination works in harmony to first compliment and then contrast sensationally to ignites the senses. I’m a major fan of using coconut for cooking which lends itself so perfectly to these dishes and leads seamlessly onto the pomegranate granita to cleanse and refresh the palate for the final courses.
My following four courses were Baby Aubergine with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce, Spiced Kale and Baby Turnip followed by Seasonal Vegetables with Tomato and Spices, White Rice and Whole Wheat bread and finally a Tandoori Pineapple with Honey & Star Anise, Strawberry Sorbet and delightful Petite fours of Raspberry Pate de Fruit and my partners non-vegan Shortbread & Chocolate selection. The richness of the aubergine with a zing of tamarind and turnip was beautifully hearty and wholesome as the sauce infused the wholewheat bread for a more filling carbohydrate led course. This was followed by the tomato based fresh seasonal vegetables and fluffy white rice and sated my appetite in ideal proportions without leaving me feeling over-full or bloated. The sweetness and warmth of the grilled pineapple against the chilled fruity sorbet is in my opinion the perfect way to end a vegan meal in a measure of natural sweetness as opposed to the sickliness of dairy led highly calorific desserts.
Dining from a tasting menu is the best way to capture the essence of a chef whilst allowing you to enjoy a variety of seasonal dishes, some of which you may never have tried if choosing between options on a menu. I like to experiment with food where possible yet sometimes fall short when I see my favourites on a menu as it’s all too easy to stick to what we know and love best which is why tasting Menu’s are perfect for long weekend lunches and must be enjoyed on an empty stomach. The quality of the food, preparation and presentation is unquestionably unparalleled in fine dining and can easily see you through the entire day with just a light snack needed in the evening. Atul Kochhar’s passion for fine Indian cuisine is evident across his vibrant menus for all dietary requirements; an exquisite flair that very few possess.
Sindhu Restaurant | The Compleat Angler | Marlow Bridge | Marlow | SL7 1RG
+44 1628 405405