Following our amazing dinner at Prithvi in Cheltenham back in June, I was delighted when I got an invite from them to return for a special event to sample the new autumn menu. This time we were there for lunch and trying out a taster selection of dishes from the Prithvi Tour menu (usually £53pp). An aperitif was offered to all of the guests on arrival; I enjoyed a refreshing Bombay Sapphire gin & tonic, but not for Mr R as unfortunately he drew the short straw again today.
Everyone was invited to find a table and sit where they pleased. Most of the couples, including us, chose to sit together (at the tables for 2), and the 2 tables with 4 covers were occupied by local bloggers meeting for the first time. It felt much like a usual lunch dining experience as people weren’t really networking or introducing themselves to one another. I’m as guilty of this as the next person and often feel awkward or intrusive when it comes to initiating a dialogue with new people. So Mr R and I chatted amongst ourselves, and because we had been to Prithvi before, we’d remembered and eagerly awaited the promise of tasty snacks which were sure to be coming out prior to the first course.
First up to tantalize our taste buds was a bite-sized rice cracker with a mango chilli chutney, topped with curly kale. The unassuming crispy mouthful was a complete and wonderful surprise. As the rice cracker started to dissolve and tickle my tongue, a burst of intense mango became suddenly apparent and then I noticed the delicate crispness of the lightly fried kale – yummy! Then we were given a panipuri – an Indian fried snack filled with chickpeas, lemon and tamarind juice. The inside of the pastry was packed full of refreshing and intense flavours and smells to match. These were just like the ones we had on our last visit and reminisced about. Jay (Director) asked me if I’d like wine with my lunch and he chose a medium bodied red for me to sip throughout the meal, generously topping up my glass between courses.
The tour commenced with a tandoor baked salmon, beetroot, mango and cucumber. At first glance everything looks so delicate and uncomplicated at Prithvi, that is until you taste the food. The meaty salmon fillet was soft and flaky inside, and still juicy. The tandoor sauce it had been baked in was sweet and moist, unlike the drier versions often found in Indian restaurants. The cucumber had been intensified by pickling and complimented the fish, pieces of beetroot and spiced mango sauce perfectly. To me this was a very satisfying dish and an absolute joy to eat.
Having read the lunch menu when we arrived, I was particularly looking forward to the lamb course. I knew that it was going to be well cooked and super tasty and I couldn’t have been more correct (even if I do say so myself). admittedly I didn’t really notice the legumes and wouldn’t have minded another helping of the cous cous, but that’s just because it tasted so good. The lamb was flawless, blushing pink and the vibrant colours of the meat and garnish stood out in the middle of that stunning plate. It almost looked too pretty to eat, but that didn’t stop me.
The next course was the venison, which unfortunately isn’t something I enjoy eating and have no idea why. I didn’t mention it at the start of the meal as I actually really wanted to give it another try. It was cooked rare and Mr R was very happy about this. A ginger & cinnamon reduction accompanied the dish, which we were given to pour over the venison. I really enjoyed the seasonal flavours in the sauce and the squash, and although I did try the venison I’m afraid that I’m still not converted. Rest assured though the comments from across the table were only of praise. What I still can’t stop thinking about is the white truffle naan bread – why don’t all Indian restaurants do this? We’ve since eaten in one of our favourite locals and found ourselves wondering where was the truffle naan? An absolutely genius idea and one we endorse fully…I know, you get it, we liked the bread 🙂
If you have read my previous write-up about our dinner at Prithvi a few months back you’ll recall me mentioning that a dessert is a must at this restaurant. Today’s dessert was much lighter than our previous chocolate delice, but equally as easy on the eye. I was also entirely smitten with the plates during the course of the afternoon and the very last one was my absolute favourite (don’t worry Mel, I promise I didn’t take it home with me). The passion fruit cream, mango gel, coriander & honey crumble was the perfect palette cleanser and a delightful way to conclude our Prithvi tour. Having now had the fortune of trying both the dinner and lunch menu at Prithvi, Mr R and I both agreed that the restaurant is still a firm favourite for us, and no doubt we’ll be finding an opportunity to return for a third time sometime soon.
To find out more about the ethos behind the Prithvi dining experience click here.
Cost: Lunch is 2 courses £21, 3 courses £25 or Prithvi Tour £53 (food only)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in October 2017
Food hygiene rating is very good 5/5 – last inspection 28th July 2017
*Although our lunch and drinks were complimentary on this particular visit to Prithvi, as ever my words and photos are my own. Thank you again to Jay Rahman, Melissa and to the whole team for inviting and hosting us during the course of the afternoon..