What do you get when you combine twice Michelin Star and celebrity chef Atul Kochhar with Jitindar Singh, who has worked in some of the finest hotel groups in India? You get a sure-fire recipe for success. Many classic duos such as Abbott and Costello, and Morecambe and Wise have brought tremendous joy to the world, and this same level of joy is also being provided by the brother-in-laws Chef Atul and Jitindar, in the form of Indian Essence, which delivers gastronomical delights of elation and satisfaction.
The restaurant is located in leafy suburbia that is Petts Wood in Kent, an oasis away from the hectic tumult of the city. The venue offers a modern and contemporary decor, with comfortable furnishings, draped fine napery and elegant neutral tones that epitomises fine dining. All meats, as confirmed by the restaurant, are halal.
We began our culinary adventure with “Makali Fry”, which were crispy fried squid on a bed of salad leaves, with chilli and lime dressing. The batter was light and delicately crunchy, and the squid was prepared immaculately. The dish provided a deliciously subtle caress of heat, which was balanced by the citrusy flavour of the lime. – Recommended
The “Murg Tiranga” was a trio of chicken consisting of Lehsuni Malai tikka, basil infused grilled chicken fillet and crispy chicken. The Malai tikka chicken was sumptuously supple and moist, with hints of ginger, garlic, cream-cheese and coriander that brought jubilation with each bite. The grilled chicken fillet, once again prepared perfectly, had a light basil piquancy that worked surprisingly well. The crispy chicken, while delivered on texture, could have benefitted from slightly more seasoning. Nonetheless, a gratifying dish. – Recommended
The “Bhatti Ka Khargosh” consisted of gilled rabbit, marinated with cumin and coriander, and served with cherry chutney. The rabbit was texturally divine and had a delicately gamey piquancy. The sweet cherry chutney was sensational and was an innovative element to the dish that delivered a delectable flavour combination. – Recommended
The final starter was the “Delhi Ki Aloo Tikki”, which was cumin-scented potato cakes, served with yoghurt, mint and tamarind chutney. The humble potato never tasted so good. The velvety smooth mashed potato was wonderfully seasoned and exceptionally flavoursome. However, the combination of the sweet tamarind and cool yogurt, transformed the dish from being great to magnificent. – Highly Recommended
For mains we opted for this elegant plate of “Samudri Khazana”, which loosely translates as “treasures of the sea”, and contained a jumbo prawn, seas bass and scallops. From the very first bite, our tastebuds were alight with excitement. The exquisite texture and flavour combinations of the different seafood elements, combined with Chef Atul’s heavenly curry spices and sweet coconut milk infused Moillie sauce delivered transcendental heights of euphoria. – Recommended
The “Lamb Nihari” was a fillet of lamb, cooked in onion gravy. The slow cooked lamb was tender and dissolved effortlessly with each bite. The stew had hints of cardamom, cumin and cinnamon, which enhanced the depth of the flavour and was moreishly delightful – Recommended
To conclude our meal, we chose the Kulfi Mango, with raspberry coulis, white chocolate and mango. The dessert was creamy and sweet, while also providing a delicious palate cleanser. – Recommended
Indian Essence brings a touch of Michelin standard cooking to Petts Wood in Kent, the “garden of England”. It is clear to see why the restaurant has won the coveted Bib Gourmand, which is awarded by Michelin, on two separate occasions.
Overall, our experience at Indian Essence was exceptionally enjoyable, the flavours and balances of spices were crafted impeccably. The menu offers quite a lot of choice, so there are still a number of dishes that we are eager to try during our next visit.
So if you want to try Michelin quality food, without breaking the bank and without having to do the long journey into Central London, then Indian Essence is a great option.
*Disclaimer: We were invited to review the restaurant
Address: 176-178 PETTSWOOD ROAD, PETTSWOOD, BR5 1LG