Forget traditional Sunday lunch, the East India Café completely wowed me last week and is my new favourite place!
East India Café is all about bringing the British Raj’s café culture to Cheltenham and they serve what is called Anglo-Indian cuisine, but personally, I like to call it flippin’ flavoursome, good food! They also offer a fantastic range of drinks including pale ales and lagers, botanical gins and tonics, fruit punches and cocktails.
So first of all, I must say how friendly the team are. We were made to feel incredibly welcome. The chef came out to meet us and his passion for ingredients and cooking were infectious.
We were welcomed with a homemade drink of lemon juice, psyllium husk, basil seeds, rose liquor and rose water. And to give us a taste of what was to come, an amuse bouche of five different fruits, puffed rice and a sauce of tamarind and blueberry with a hint of roasted cumin was served to us.
We both chose from the lunch menu and our starters were Maida Flour Made Pyramid Shaped Pastry (which is stuffed with cauliflower, green peas and new potatoes and served with green chutney, tamarind and an Indian mustard) and the Meat Samosa. Both starters, as with all the dishes, were so flavoursome using the freshest ingredients. I knew, one forkful in, this was going to be a very good lunch indeed.
We were then treated to a sharing platter of some of their popular dishes including Duck, Tuna and Lamb. We devoured all three. I usually hate tuna, and the chef said he was sure he could change my mind and he did! The duck was served with a pate and they complemented each other beautifully. But my favourite, was the lamb patty which packed a spicy punch.
For our main course, we both chose Indian sandwiches also known as ‘Kati Rolls’, which are made with paratha bread. These came about as a result of the busy office commuters wanting something quick and portable for their British bosses at lunch time; I can’t understand why I haven’t come across these before – they should be everywhere – they are so good! Between us we had the Mixed Veg Samosa Roll and the Old Delhi Chicken Roll, this is chicken tikka with a marinade of Greek yoghurt and cashews, served with grilled red onions, peppers and aioli.
We were pretty full up by that point, but it would have been rude not to try all three courses, so we ordered one of each dessert and shared. First up was Vermicelli Cooked with Saffron Milk and it came with pistachio ice cream but our favourite was the Puli Pitha which is a rice flour pastry; it’s served with a reduced milk that has a toffee like taste and kulfi ice cream.
All I can say is, if you haven’t been to East India Café yet, get your arse down there now! It gets top marks from me, I could not fault it in any way.