Swagat (Indian)

Swagat

Hill Rise, Richmond

Monday 26th  May

★★★★


Sudden Alberts invites us into his restaurant like we are part of the family. We have been going here since it’s 2006 opening. We return for the simple reason that the food here is exceptional. The setting and service matches but it is the North Indian dishes, prepared authentically and served contemporarily, that calls us back over and over again.

This is not Brummie Curry – it is accurate to its heritage – you will find Chicken Tikka Masala nowhere near this menu!!

We sit to a basket of freshly prepared poppadum with chutney and my favourite – a vibrant, yet not overpowering, mint sauce.

 Our starters include two from the specials list: Prawn Angare – King prawns marinated in yoghurt and chilli and cooked in clay oven £10.95 – and Rai Murgh Tikka – morsels of chicken infused with mustard seeds and curry leaves and grilled in tandoori and served with rich puff and gram flour straw chaat £9.95.

They might be a mouthful but the flavourings are just as intricate. The prawns are absolutely immense. They are as tender as Cheryl Cole’s bottom in front of a warm fire and just as appetizing (so I’ve heard). The Murgh (chicken) go through more levels of spicing than a Shanghainese elevator. They just keep coming. It is the most fantastic beginning to what will inevitably turn in to another extraordinary meal.

The mains did not disappoint. The Prawn Molee exploits a fantastically rich coconut sauce to only add to the shellfish’s’ impact. Admittedly, as we always do, we opted for the Chicken Tikka Makhani (not Madras!!). It is always brilliant, and though not entirely adventurous of us we can never seem to stray from what is a quite superb dish. Cooked in clarified butter (gee) and a sun-dried fenugreek flavoured tomato cream sauce it absolutely never fails to deliver. It is a staple must and with expert pilau rice is not too rich.

My mum asked the waiter what he thought she was having. He of course knew. Pinde Colee. She has it every time and has been know to get takeaway of this dish alone. Chickpeas tempered with ginger, green chilli and raw mango powder. Don’t tell her but of course: she is right; they are absurdly scrumptious.

We didn’t go for Naan this week but I can tell you there is nothing better to mop up the fantastically spiced sauces with.

We opted to not go for dessert this time – famished we were not – but of course, the gentleman that he is, Sudden bought us a little taster each. A lime sorbet if I remember – though admittedly I’d enjoyed the wine list a little too widely – It rinsed the palate skillfully.

Once again we were taken aback. The consistency of this authentic Indian restaurant is undeniable. The food is, throughout the menu, entirely exceptional. It is the greatest Indian restaurant that I have been to and I would urge you to try it – and quickly. The amount of Michelin guide stickers in the window is hardly surprising. It would not astonish me were the next level to be achieved soon.

The waiting staff, the food and the atmosphere is all utterly superlative. Go here!


£25pp – without wine and service.

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