Muddy eats: India Dining, Warlingham
I love a good curry. But the curry at India Dining is not your bog-standard biryani. This is more classy. More contemporary. A blend of East meets West if you like.
India Dining was opened in 2003, and since then has consistently wowed the critics and won awards – most recently being awarded two AA rosettes. The restaurant is the brainchild of Asad Khan, one of the original team who launched the renowned Cinnamon Club in central London. Khan says that while central London has more Indian fine dining restaurants than Delhi, you’re hard pressed to find anything much south of Wimbledon.
No great surprise then, that when Mr Muddy and I had a night off the kids after my gorgeous friend Rachel asked to have them for a sleepover – yes, really! – we high-tailed it to India Dining. I’ve since found out it’s a favourite haunt of celebrities, so I may have been dining with stars and not even realised it (my celebrity radar isn’t great at the best of times)
The restaurant is on the Green in the pretty village of Warlingham. Inside, the interiors are cool and relaxed. Bold pop art prints of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Uma Thurman line the walls, and funky pendant lights drop from the ceiling.
There’s a cocktail bar, although we skipped the cocktails having started our night with a couple of glasses of Prosecco at the quaint and characterful White Lion pub across the Green. There’s always next time.
The menu, I’m told, is put together by the team of chefs using fresh produce that is free from artificial preservatives and additives, and changes regularly. Each dish comes with a wine recommendation. The chefs, incidentally, have each been trained at five-star restaurants in India.
While we looked over the menu we start with familiar Indian fare of poppadoms and home-made chutneys. So far, so good.
For starter, I chose the malaki fry, crispy squid rings with red chilli and spring onions, served with piri piri sauce (£6.95). The squid was perfectly cooked and delicately spiced. Mr Muddy went for the spiced spinach cake (£5.95).
For mains we both went for the seafood mapaj (£19.95). The salmon, tiger prawns, mussels and scallops were poached in a beautifully spiced creamy mapaj sauce, and it came with neatly presented with a mound of steamed rice. We shared a garlic naan (£3.95).
The wine list is extensive and designed to suit any budget. We chose a French wine – the Saint Laurand Blanc (£15.95) – which was crisp and refreshing, and the perfect accompaniment to the spiced food.
The restaurant was bustling, but never loud and intrusive, with a mixture of couples and groups. It’s sophisticated, but not intimidating – a lot like the food really. It’s little wonder, then, that India Dining has been voted Surrey’s Best Indian Restaurant by the Cobra Good Curry Guide, for three years running.
India Dining also puts on events such as Indian cooking master classes, and offers private catering.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Couples, families, groups of friends, larger groups, Sunday lunchers, girly get-togethers, groups of friends, romantic trysts
Not for: If you’re after a typical High Street curry, this isn’t your place.
£££: This is not your standard High Street curry and that’s reflected in the prices which range from £5.95 for starters up to £26.95 for the main-dish Keralan wild prawns. The mains includes Delhi chicken for £13.95 and a Malabar lamb biriyani for £14.95. There is a tasting menu (for a minimum of two people) for £39.95.
6 The Green, Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9NA. Tel: 01883 625905, indiadining.co.uk