Wednesday 14 October 2015

Food Review: Vivaanta Private Dinner

I love a private dinner. Whenever I eat out with friends and family, it's usually a very informal affair. A private dinner however? There's something special about stepping into a room and knowing you'll be well looked after away from the hustle and bustle.

Vivaanta is an Indian restaurant specialising in seafood located right on the water's edge at The Mailbox. I was invited to a private dinner to sample some of the fabulous dishes available.

Before we sat down to eat, we enjoyed a few drinks at the bar right beside the water's edge. I opted for a Bellini but the bar staff are charismatic and excellent at rustling up some unusual creations.

Into the main room, we were seated at a horseshoe shaped table which enabled up to talk to guests opposite as well as those beside us. First off, we tucked into a variety of poppadums, from seeded versions to some with pepper and sesame alongside four dips; mango chutney, raita, spicy chilli sauce and citrus pickle.

We devoured these before being presented with a seafood medley of char-grilled salmon, Devonshire crab with ginger and lime, mussels in lime, baked sea bass, Nepalese cod pakora and aloo tikki. This was a special dish made up for us on the evening to allow us to try a selection of dishes (Indian tapas; I like it).

The mussels were served in a rich, sweet sauce which I devoured and the white fish was soft and perfectly cooked. I couldn't try some of the dishes as they were in breadcrumbs sadly but the staff were great at pointing out what I could and couldn't eat which was great.

Next, we had a few larger plates to share from. We had Nihari lobster and seafood medley, chingree muncharian, lamb kaalia gosht and garlic chilli chicken.  The chicken reminded me of a chicken satay but of course heavy on the garlic, in a rich, thick sauce, whilst the lamb in a sweet tomato sauce was pretty spicy and contained dried chillies. However, even being a wuss as I am, I still enjoyed this dish and it was hearty and rich. The king prawns in the Chingree were huge and this dish was in fact mild in a chunky sauce.

The lobster was of course, wonderfully presented but don't worry, the actual flesh had already been taken out and the shell was just for show. There were also some decent sized scallops in the medley too and the whole dish was super creamy.

To round us off, another platter. This time a dessert platter of Indian classics including gulab jaman, almond helwa, jelabi, pistachio ice cream and fruit. It's unusual to find helwa on a dessert menu but I enjoyed this super sweet speciality and it rounded off the meal. Sadly I couldn't try the gulab jaman or jelabi as they are not gluten free but I'm told they were pretty authentic.

I have to admit, I never normally order seafood at an Indian restaurant as I don't associate the two, but I was pleasantly surprised. The main dishes all worked well with seafood and the mussels and baked sea bass starters were my favourite of the lot. The scallops on their own in the seafood medley were tasty and would have worked just as well without the lobster, but for an occasion I can understand that the shell helps give the dish the wow factor.

The evening changed my perceptions of Indian seafood and I really enjoyed the experience of private dining as the service and presentation was excellent on the night. For a special occasion, Vivaanta would be a wonderful place to dine as the whole experience felt luxurious and discreet. Would I go back? Yes, I just need something to celebrate so I can go back and dine in style.

*I was invited to dine as a guest of Vivaanta. All view remain my own.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love fancy restaurants! Nothing near as good around where I live... The food looks absolutely delicious, thank you for sharing! <3

    Following on bloglovin' <3