My meal at Prithvi was absolutely the best dining experience I've had in Cheltenham, and definitely one of the best I've ever had.
I went as a party of four, and we opted for the Tour menu.
The food was quite simply magnificent. Firstly, seven courses (not including pappadoms and petits fours) all for £30 per person represents remarkable value. After tasting the amuse bouche I knew we were in for a treat. A delicate pastry basket containing spiced chick peas and herbs sits between two colourful swirls of sauce and is topped with a final, runnier sauce (poured by the waiters at the table to ensure the crisp texture is kept for as long as possible.) It tasted sublime - a fantastic balance of sweet and spicy flavours, coupled with great textures. It really did set the scene for the meal.
I wont spoil the fun and surprise by going through each dish in great detail but the recurring theme for me was that each course represented a masterful balance of quite complex flavours and showed great judgement in terms of spicing/seasoning, and were all beautifully presented. For example, the balance of flavours between a rich gamey meat such as duck in a deep, spicy sauce, alongside sweet, fragrant rice was truly superb and unlike anything I've tasted in any Indian restaurant before. The seared salmon with mango puree was another example of impeccable spicing and accomplished cooking - the seasoning was very well judged and enhanced the rich flavour of the salmon. Nothing was overpowering, yet the flavours were all strong in their own right. The salmon itself was cooked beautifully - moist and succulent.
Needless to say all courses were superb and we were immensely satisfied by the end. The pacing was perfect, as were the quantities. Brilliant.
Where this restaurant also excels though, is with the service. It was impeccable - relaxed yet formal; thorough, yet in no way intrusive. It was the little things, such as folding guests napkins when they left the table, to clearing down the tables thoroughly between courses (including picking up any stray grains of rice which may have escaped off one's plate!) Both our servers were very lovely, exceptionally polite and helpful and showed great knowledge of the restaurant's dishes.
At the start of the meal we were asked if anyone had any allergies. One of our group had a nut allergy, and it was great to see that his pre-dessert was served without a cashew nut sitting on top. This in itself was a pleasant level of customer service, but to really top it off, when the petits fours arrived, an apology was made that the restaurant did not have any nut-free sweets - and without asking, my friend was presented with a glass of a fantastic honey bourbon, free-of-charge.
I urge eveyone to experience this restaurant. I will be returning shortly, without doubt.
A truly great experience.
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