Restaurant Review: Sindhu by Atul Kochhar at Macdonald Compleat Angler in Marlow
Michelin starred chef and TV personality, Atul Kochhar first popped up on my radar with his delightful looking dishes on BBC’s Great British Menu some 10 years ago. His passion for combining traditional Indian cuisine with seasonal and regional British produce was apparent and still applies today, winning him a Michelin star in 2001 (Tamarind, London) and also 2006 (Benares, London). His Marlow based restaurant, Sindhu by Atul Kochhar utilises top quality ingredients and presents them in mouth-watering ways.
Opened in November 2014, the restaurant resides in the luxury 4 star hotel, Macdonald Compleat Angler, which sits as close to the River Thames as you can get! The views and peaceful location are just incredible with Marlow bridge to one side and the weir to the other creating a tranquil place to enjoy some fine dining.
I visited Sindhu as part of a stay at the hotel with my guest, Nick, and we couldn’t fault the tasty food, stylish décor or the quality of the service offered by the attentive waiters and waitresses – we even spotted Mr. Kochhar himself, who had come to the restaurant to dine that night.
The a la carte menu offers 7 appetisers and 8 mains along with a range of side dishes, breads and rice. We couldn’t decide so we went for the ‘easy’ option of the tasting menu – all the best bits in one! At £65 per person (£120 if you include the wine flight) there are 6 dishes to plough your way through with 2 options for the main dish. The menu looked varied and interesting and we were eager to start following a tasty amuse bouche and mini popadoms.
The first course was an aloo and samosa chaat – crisp fried potatoes, samosa, tamarind and pomegranate. Lovely crispy textures and creamy inners with a little kick of flavour, there were lots of elements to enjoy and we were excited at what was to come after the quality of that first course. I love scallops (in case this is your very first food review of mine, I’ve got a thing for scallops and I’m rarely disappointed with the little delights). The Scottish scallop with textures of parsnip – jai tarang – sat on a parsnip purée with a little crisp to accompany, and the gentle flavours were great together – I could have done with more than one though!
Moving on to meen moilee – stone bass potato and coconut – a colourful dish with a yellow, fragrant sauce with pressed potato and beetroot all looking striking on a black plate. The lovely fish was crispy on one side and this was yet another gorgeous, flavoursome dish. Mid way through and Nick and I can’t decide on a favourite so far, as we agree that all three dishes have been scrumptious in their own ways.
After a zingy and cooling lime sorbet, the murgh makhanwala was next and, again, was a delicious dish with all the elements I like on a plate – chicken, rice, cheese and a flavoursome sauce. Tandoori chicken supreme sat alongside tomato pulao and paneer with spinach and I considered that the level of spicing on each dish had been just right for me so far – not too much to blow the roof of your mouth off, but certainly enough to taste some flavour and complement the ingredients on the plates.
Next was where we could choose between halibut and lamb, this worked out very well as I love halibut and nick adores lamb! He wasn’t giving me too much feedback on his erachi chettinaad – Romney Marsh lamb cutlet with polenta and kachumbar but he ate the lot, which says it all for me! My chapa pulusu – Atlantic halibut with cauliflower and tamarind – had a gorgeous piece of chunky, meaty fish sat on the plate with nice spicing and tasty vegetable accompaniment. Both were served with a garlic naan and a lentil side dish – we loved the naan but not the side, it was a little stodgy for us at this point after all the food and lovely Pinot Noir (me) and beer (Nick – apparently nothing goes with Indian food like beer) and our eyes were starting to get heavy.
We were offered a break before the dessert platter arrived and we happily accepted, welcoming the chance to sit back and reflect on our surroundings. The main draw is the wall of windows that faces the weir and beyond, making the most of the captivating view. Inside, the lighting is as low as you would like, creating an intimate atmosphere and thankfully I can still see my food! Comfort is key and a dark carpeted floor combined with velvet armchairs helped us feel this way. Dark wood, flashes of lime green, soft metallic banquet seating and mirrored pillars add sophisticated touches, while splashes of colour on canvases emphasise the contemporary décor. The atmosphere is chatty and happy and every seat in the restaurant is taken – I am not surprised – though we felt a little close to the diners either side of us.
After a rest our final course was brought out and consisted of a dessert platter of rose yogurt bhapa doi, chocolate and passion fruit, mango kulfi. The kulfi was dense, yet creamy and really fruity, tasty and refreshing, while the smooth chocolate with crispy bits on top was my favourite. The yogurt was fresh for the berries and fruity jelly cubes that sat on top of it but had an odd cheesy taste that I didn’t like. The dessert selection offered the perfect end to the meal for me and there wasn’t much more that could have been done to please us! The tasting menu was well balanced with different meats, accompaniments and levels of spicing to sample and the staff were on point, visiting the table often enough and bringing their friendly manner with them.
In a nutshell
Sindhu by Atul Kochhar offers a stylish space to enjoy some gorgeous food. In a peaceful setting on the Thames in picturesque Marlow, it’s really difficult to find something wrong with the place so I won’t try!
Address: Sindhu Restaurant, The Compleat Angler, Marlow Bridge, Marlow, SL7 1RG / 01628 405 405