Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chutney Mary, London

Chutney Mary
535 Kings Road,
Chelsea, London SW10 0SZ

Chutney Mary is an Indian restaurant that is part of the same chain that comprises Veeraswamy, Amaya and the Masala Zone restaurants.

Chutney Mary is on the Kings Road, Chelsea about a 10 minute walk or so from Fulham Broadway tube. The restaurant itself is in the basement of the building, but although it isn't brightly lit, it doesn't feel enclosed at all.

There were nine of us at the meal, a mixture of veggies and non-veggies.

The menu has plenty of choices for those of us who don't eat meat and it isn't your normal "korma, madras, vindaloo" Indian restaurant menu either as you'll see.

Before the starters were delivered we were treated to an amuse bouche of tomato soup. This was served in a small cup and saucer and was very nice.

For the first course, I had something that was labeled as three vegetarian kebabs. When it turned up it was three patties, one of pea and fig, one of sago and one comprising of spiced yam. They were presented nicely on a lotus leaf and accompanied by an avocado cream and a fruit chutney. They were all really nice, especially the yam one. I wasn't too keen on the avocado, but then I'm not a huge fan of guacamole either. One of the most popular starters on our table was the potato basket which was a 'basket' made of fried potatoes that was filled with various street foods and yoghurts. For a starter it looked very big and quite filling. Judging by the empty plates, it was very tasty too.

The main course choice for vegetarians at Chutney Mary is pretty good with two platters comprising various vegetable delights. We had a mixture of the two delivered to our table so I'll endeavour to remember the various dishes that they comprised.

I had the Punjab Vegetable Platter which had a selection of black lentil dhal, aloo gobi, spinach and cheese, okra, tomato and waterchestnut curry and spicy rice. This was served in small dishes on a great moon shaped tray that fitted perfectly around the plate. To accompany this I had a cheese and chilli naan.

The dhal was spicy and incredibly creamy, possibly one of the nicest I have ever had. I'm not a big okra lover, usually finding it stringy and/or slimy. But this okra had none of that, it was tender and very nice. I tried a couple of the options that were on the Vegetarian Platter, the other veggie dish on the main menu. These were tandoori broccoli, which was just-cooked and really crunchy laced with a spicy sauce. I also tries some peppers stuffed with smoked aubergine. The aubergine had a superb smokey flavour - it was gorgeous.

The dessert menu had what was described as a Garam Masala and Cardamom Brulee, so the choice was made for me. The brulee was served in the middle of a large plate, without a ramekin, topped with coconut ice cream and mint leaves. This was the first time I had ever had a brulee that wasn't in a dish of some sort. The texture of the brulee was just about perfect, firm and silky. I couldn't taste any garam masala, but the cardamom flavour was definitely there, but not overwhelming. On Gaz's Brulee scale this was a good eight and a half.

The service was great, there was always someone there when you needed them, and despite our awkward and disorganised ordering, the dishes were always correct and delivered to the right people. The waitress was also more than happy to take a photo of the group. It was a birthday celebration for a couple of the group and the restaurant supplied a cake and candles to celebrate.

A service charge was added to the bill, I'm not sure if this is standard for every one or whether it was because we were a large group and they happily split the bill over several credit cards.

A great night out and highly recommended if you fancy an Indian meal with a difference.

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