I contacted Atul Kochhar via Twitter way back in June, when I asked if I could dine in his Sindhu restaurant, which was launching on Arcadia during our September cruise. Fair play to Atul, he replied back to every one of my tweets and confirmed that vegan would be no problem and told me the dates he would be on-board, which when I booked the cruise were unavailable.
On embarkation day I made sure I booked a table for the first night, as Atul was hosting the venue and would be speaking to diners, as well as heading up the galley.
I had a chat with Sindhu's Head Chef Razel, as to what vegan options I could have, bearing in mind I am allergic to most beans and lentils, a real challenge especially when it comes to Indian food, where pulses are a main component. Razel was happy to accommodate though, tweaking both a starter and main course to suit and I went away happy with my vegan menu choices.
The venue itself is modern, but warm and welcoming and we got a great table by the window, with views over the ocean, a great start to the evening. We were given poppadums and chutneys to start, whilst perusing the menu.
My starter was Karari Gobhi - tandoori cauliflower parcel with piccalilli and smoked tomato chutney, this was a light and tasty dish beautifully presented.
Main course was Khumb Khichidi - stir fried wild mushrooms with chickpeas, seasonal truffle and rice kedgeree, this was a delicately spiced dish and miles away from the spicy food I usually like, but was thoroughly delicious and enjoyable.
Accompaniments were various breads, additional rice, lentils (which hubby tried to demolish) and the best okra dish I have every eaten in my life.
I was so full I could only manage some fruit salad for dessert and even then I failed to finish it all.
The highlight of the evening was Atul visiting each table, but he is not how I expected a celebrity chef to be, he is down to earth, a real gentleman and happy to chat and said that if Indian Restaurants cannot make vegan or vegetarian food then shame on them.
The following day we went to see him being interviewed about his life and passion for food, inspired by his grandparents and parents as a young lad and interestingly one of his passions is vegetables and how to cook them. I would love to visit Benares, his London Mayfair restaurant and hope to visit there some day.