Tucked away in an idyllic pocket of Kent is the fine dining restaurant Shampan. Executive Chef Sadek Miah with the help of his kitchen team has managed to come up with fresh ideas using British ingredients, some even sourced locally from the ‘Garden of England’ as Kent is so affectionately known.
I tend not to talk about nibbles, however Shampan’s Pickle and Popadoms selection has some really interesting and delicious relishes. The Mint Yogurt Sauce, Mango Chutney and Chana Chickpea Salad are all made on site and worth tickling the tastebuds with. The innovative cocktail menu includes their popular Rockstar Martini shaken from vodka and passion fruit liqueur with a champagne shot on the side or you could go for the respectable Lychee version which is just as spectacular.
The Tandoor Seared Organic Salmon with Lemongrass and Chilli makes the most of enlivening spices. The Banana Leaf wrapped Tilapia with a Coriander and Coconut Crust and the Kentish Lamb Chops are firm favourites which have had a makeover.
If you prefer to indulge further, Chef Sadek’s assorted grilled Hors d’oeuvres of Paneer, King Prawn, Chicken and Lamb will satiate your starter fetish.
If you’re big on brinjals, the Hyderabadi Spiced Baby Aubergines with Tomato and Tamarind is a ‘must order’ main course. The Kerala Spiced King Prawns, Curry Leaf and Coconut Sauce is a delicately fragrant and lightly spiced dish taking you to God’s Own Country.
My personal favourite accompaniments are the Cumin Tadka Dal - spiced lentils with a hint of butter and the Saag Paneer with Cheese and Chilli Naan.
A carefully crafted wine list ensures that all the wines are compatible with the dishes. According to the sommelier, the Chateau La Croix has plenty of primary black fruit flavours before leading into a secondary encore of mocha and tobacco flavours and I would agree. It also works incredibly well with spice and is robust enough to handle the heat. If you want to round off your food with something sweet, the Sauternes Chateau de Levant from Bordeaux has an open fruity nose with apricot nots twinned with honey flavours. Well balanced in the palate without being overwhelmed by richness and ending on a fruity and vanilla finish. All the pudding flavours rolled into one.
The new a la carte menu is a triumphant start to the season ringing in the changes of autumn 2016. Be it lunch or dinner, the British Curry Award winning Shampan is an extremely welcome luxury break off the M25.
The Spinning Wheel