Live good, Eat good, Feel good.
I would say EAT good first and from there, you can live good and feel good.
For a restaurant, the goal is to make the clientele feel good, eat good and if they then live good, they will be back. This is the case for The Painted Heron in Chelsea, where Chef Yogesh Datta has been feeding happy people.
The Painted Heron, the winner of 'The Best Indian restaurant' at the 2016 Food Awards serves fine dining Indian food. Dishes such as Venison Steak curry, Chilli Soft shell crab, Spring Lamb Neck and Asian Sea Bass. These appetising dishes are greeted by guests with looks of joy and hunger, as Laura and I had on our visit there.
I was lucky to visit The Painted Heron at a time when they had launched their new A la Carte menu.
This menu gave some excitement and diversity to a 14 year old restaurant. It is not that they needed a change, but seasonality is important. Like the word, fresh.
The restaurant and the Chef keep to their roots and offer Poppadums to the table. These come with their trio (a theme throughout) of chutneys; these range in flavour from Garlic to Beetroot. Garlic was a favourite of mine.
We had a mix of the traditional dishes alongside some contemporary dishes.
Our mix of the two worked really well and we let the waiter take control. For starter we had the Chicken Tikka (three ways), Spring Roll, Soft Shell crab and Tiger Prawn. This was two parts traditional (Chicken Tikka and Spring Roll) and two part contemporary (Soft shell crab and Prawn).
The main courses also were split between old and new. Old (traditional dishes) was the Venison curry and the New (Contemporary) dishes were Spring Lamb neck and Asian Sea Bass.
I was grateful for the waiters and chefs recommendation with all these dishes, but looking at the rest of the menu I do know I need to go back. Some dishes to name are:
The food when it arrived, seemed like a lot, but Laura and I had FOMO. We did not want to miss out, so we were happy the waiter recommended so much. The chicken tikka three ways, were red chilli and honey, creamed coconut and coriander garlic. This was really tasty and seemed to be dominated by the chilli and honey so much, that it may have just been that one. Heat and taste together = a good curry night.
Each dish was accompanied with some chutney and added extra delight. A win win for me as it meant I ate more and therefore tasted the great variety of flavours.
Chef Datta's skill to marry traditional meals with new techniques is clearly evident with the soft shell crab as well as the Tiger Prawns with Rhubarb. Both are subtle in flavour and the textures and crunch of both were great to have. These dishes combined left Laura and I in a good place. Slightly full but very happy.
The main courses also stood out. The Asian Sea Bass was soft and buttery and doused in a tamarind and coconut curry. Laura was not a big fan, but that just left more for me.
One dish we were both very happy with, was the Venison Roganjosh. This meat lent itself to the velvety and rich red wine curry and made this dish very more-ish. If you go (WHEN), make sure you order this dish. A perfect example of a traditional meal, updated with the wine and use of Venison Steak. Good idea, Chef Datta.
By this stage, we were very stuffed and probably should not have ordered a second roganjosh dish with the lamb. It was tender, but just not as tasty as the Venison dish.
The returning theme, Trio, first off with a trio of vegetables included New Jersey Royals with spinach, fried okra and sweet potatos and creamy black lentils. This alongside the Venison is a must. Three amazing dishes that go perfectly with both naan and rice. The Royals were so warming that they kept me warm for the whole week. Whilst the fried okra was seasoned perfectly and made me want to eat more and more.
Lastly, the trio of desserts. Mango Kulfi, so cold I almost had brain freeze, Gulab Juman and a refreshing ice cream. Usually Indian desserts are not something I get excited about, however, this was a special moment and was a real treat. Each dessert contrasted the other but complimented it perfectly too.
The Painted Heron lives up to its historical reputation as well as its recent award of 'Best Indian Restaurant' 2016. The price point works well for the local clientele as well as its award winning chef. With Al Fresco dining, some sun and a new menu, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Painted Heron.
As Always, if you go, please Invite me.