Good food is worth traveling for. I may have used this sentence before, but it's true.
Another good reason to travel is to try out a new restaurant and a new menu. Shampan at the Spinning Wheel is part of the Shampan Group which has been established since 1989 in Kent. Now close to thirty years on, the group has expanded to three restaurants, one in Bromley, one in Welling and the latest at the Spinning Wheel in Westerham.
Head chef Sadek Miah at the Spinning Wheel aims to deliver authentic flavours from the Indian sub continent and in the 350 cover venue, this is not a simple task.
The new menu at Shampan at the Spinning Wheel is a simple one. I have seen some places bombard people with anything and everything. Thankfully here, you are clear about what to order and how the system works. Starter, Main and Dessert. Simple.
On a cool Saturday lunch time, Laura and I were invited to try out this new menu and this was a really cool experience. The venue has the feel of a hotel and with the ability to host 350 people it is very grandiose. The lounge was nice and chilled and the staff were on hand to help with kindness and more importantly happiness. Jokes about cocktails at close to midday were welcome and helped ease the mood amongst all.
On to the important stuff, The food menu.
Chef Sadek Miah has a balanced menu for Shampan at the Spinning Wheel, with the best of both traditional Dishes and contemporary ones that bring an innovative slant and eye-catching presentation. With some of the food sourced locally in Kent, using quality spices and herbs, the array of dishes and flavours is enough to make any man or woman travel great distances.
From their food menu, below you can see what we had:
How was it. You ask?
Absolutely stuffed. Although that was my lunch, that was me for the day. I had no space for anything else. The waiters had started the day with a basket full of popodams in three different varieties and whilst I was not starving , I couldn't help myself and just kept eating it along with four different chutneys.
The starters we had were the tandoori salmon and the duo of lamb. Both were tasty, but probably in the case of the salmon, it looked better than it tasted, I'll be honest, I very rarely order a fish dish at an Indian restaurant. This is because it never matches the quality of a good chicken, lamb or vegetarian dish. I think prawns are probably the best in terms of seafood, but like this salmon the flavours never really go deep enough. It touches the tongue briefly and then departs, not leaving much of an impression.
The duo of lamb was tender and succulent. The chops were meaty pieces and cooked very well. Some added chat from a BBQ would have been welcomed, but it was nice nonetheless. The sheesh, the lamb Gillaffe was packed full of herbs and spices and was a shame that I had to share with Laura (One downer to the marriage).
The list above was not too much, but it completely stuffed our little bellies. The starters, mains and desserts all sat nicely on top of each other and at the time was delightful. By the end, I was beyond a food coma and in a different place altogether. The generosity of each dish was amazing and meant that Laura and I even shared with others around the table.
The main courses picked up where the lamb left off. Meaty and juicy flavours came from the venison and chicken. The venison seemed to fit perfectly for Shampan at the Spinning Wheel. Being in the countryside surrounded by green space, the gamey flavours and richness was well suited. The warmth of spices of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves (The three C's) brought a fusion element to the venison and it was in a sense that chef Miah brought a mix between Kent and south India.
The Makhani was a classic choice from me. This dish, akin to butter chicken was me being lazy but also wanting to see how Shampan could do it. A little test from me. How did they fare? Very well. The sauce was nice and buttery and more importantly the chicken was plentiful. As much as we tried to be kind by sharing, the chicken would not go away. The velvety sauce coated the chicken and my tongue and stayed there for a while. This was a stand out dish for me.
From the director and head chef all the way through the team, Shampan at the Spinning Wheel was on point. Humayun Hussain excelled in organizing a great day. We were told about the importance of the team and about the local community. The Shampan Group in Kent have set their based and worked hard for 30 years. Four restaurants and many awards later it seems as though the hunger is still there.
My hunger was well and truly satisfied on this day and the finale of ice cream and gulab Jaman was a good way to end. Sweet, delicate and precise. I think that is a good way to end it. Goodnight.