IT turns out to be the perfect end to the day – a visit to Stony Stratford’s Indian Cuisine hub Calcutta Brasserie.
My dining partner Al and I are here to sample the Valentine’s Fare menu.
Chicken, lamb, king prawns... but wait. We are both vegetarian.
“No problem,” says clearly unfazed manager Mo who then presents us with a menu boasting a truly exceptional array of dishes for the meat-free.
Mo tells us that several of the chefs at Calcutta are also veggies, and the arrival of our starter (after the obligatory poppadoms and relishes have been polished off) shows they clearly know what they are doing.
We are served an exquisitely arranged mini-platter of palate-awakeners. Particular favourites? The Chowk Ki Tikka Potato Cakes with ginger, fresh chillies and roasted cumin for me, the Paneer Tikka Kali Mirch (cubes of Indian cottage cheese which have been marinated with spices and black pepper and then grilled) hit the right spot with Al, and we are both knocked out by the Tandoori Broccoli, which has been marinated with cream, cheese and yogurt.
Who would have thought that a vegetable so green, could make us so keen?
Our main course of Vegetarian Thaali is a sizzling hotbed of spices and we tuck into the colourful culinary delight before us with sure and certain relish.
The Calcutta Brasserie prides itself on attention to detail – all dishes are authentically sourced and prepared, and organic and free range ingredients are the norm, not the exception.
The proof is in the tasting, and at Calcutta you get a true representation of Indian cusiine: “We have food on the menu that reflects every region of India,” Mo says, proudly.
And he has every right to feel that way with fare so fabulous as this.
It is a given that we will indulge in dessert too, and while Al opts for the Rasmalai, I carefully dismantle the delicious Mango Kulfi, which looks like a work of art. It is delicately matched with a strawberry sauce and juicy blueberries. We enjoyed wonderful food and fantastic presentation in a venue that succeeds in feeling classy and cosy.
The three course Valentine’s menu with champagne reception costs £24.95 per person. Call 01908 566577 for bookings and make your Valentine’s Day a spicy one.