Indian Fine Dining in Westerham – Shampan at the Spinning Wheel:
I have to admit to being somewhat addicted to curry, I make one at least once a week, and enjoy eating it out too. In recent years, Indian cuisine has been elevated to whole new level, with many restaurants deservedly holding Michelin stars. There are some days that one of the BYOB places in Tooting is fabulous (and cheap!), and other days when something more refined is required. The Shampan at the Spinning Wheel in Westerham falls decidedly into the latter category. It’s very glamorous inside, and promotes itself as a destination venue; somewhere to come to spend the whole evening, have cocktails, a meal, and then more cocktails! They are very good too!
We were invited along with a small group of fellow food enthusiasts and bloggers to try the new menu. And I would say that between us, we gave it a thorough try-out! We started in the traditional way with chutneys and poppadoms. There were some surprises even here, I don’t think that any of us had ever tried chickpea chutney previously. The mixed poppadoms were very morish and I had to remind myself that there were 3 courses to follow!
The food is thoughtfully plated, showing the vibrancy of the food. Unfortunately, I can’t show how subtly spiced and utterly delicious it all was.
One of the other guests ordered Chef Sadek’s assorted grilled Hors d’oeuvres, and insisted that we tried the paneer as it was perfectly cooked; just a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The other items were a king prawn, chicken, and a lamb chop. It was a visual feast as well as a physical one!
Our own starters were a ‘Shikari’ hunter style grilled Scottish rabbit with pickled spices, garlic, cumin and corn relish, and a tiger prawn puri. Both dishes were cooked perfectly, with moist meat and plump tasty prawns.
Our fellow blogger again insisted that we sample some of her dish as she was so impressed! Her’s was Hyderabadi spiced lamb shank served with pilau rice. This was made with local Kent lamb, marinated in turmeric, yoghurt, toasted garlic and spices, and served with roasted root vegetables. This was a wonderful ‘comfort food’ dish, perfect for the autumn days that we are now experiencing. I opted for the clove smoked saddle of venison with jodhpuri spices, crisp okra and pilau rice. I have to say that I was a little nervous about the okra (it’s something that I’d send to room 101!), but this was perfect; julienned slices lightly coated and fried. If okra was like that all the time, I’d actually eat it! The venison itself was nicely pink in the middle and very tender. Again, perfect for the season with its robust flavours and earthy taste. Alex opted for ‘Bhatti’ chicken with lababdaari makhani sauce and pilau rice, this came with a spinach puree. I gathered from his clean plate that it was very tasty.
I was full by this point! We were treated to a warm carrot cake with fresh fig and vanilla ice cream. The carrot cake reminded me of a steamed pudding and had a lovely warm ginger taste. We were then introduced to the chef who had made us all so full and very happy. His menu includes traditional dishes as well as the more unusual and innovative ones that we had the pleasure of sampling.
The Shampan is a large venue that also caters for corporate events, private parties, and weddings. The space is carefully used, and it doesn’t feel huge, it feels intimate and welcoming.
I have to say, that we were really very impressed. So much so that we will be going again soon.
Shampan at The Spinning Wheel