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“Best Indian Meal I've Ever Had - Superb Service - And Atol was there cooking!”
Review of Indian Essence

Indian Essence
Ranked #3 of 162 Restaurants in Orpington
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $26 - $61
Cuisines: Indian
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Kent
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Best Indian Meal I've Ever Had - Superb Service - And Atol was there cooking!”
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We went to Indian Essence on Saturday to celebrate my Birthday - a party of 6 of us arrived at 7.30 and were shown straight to our table and offered drinks - pleased to see there were mocktails on the menu as well as standard cocktails - I had the Masala Mary which was delicious. We ordered papadoms which come with 3 little pots or relishes which are far better than your nomal mango chutney, lime pickle etc. We all had starters ranging from Scallops (perfection!), Squid which was the tenderest I have ever had, to Soft shell crab which was equally good. We all ordered different main courses with a variety of accompaniments - the chick peas being outstanding as a side order, Goat Curry was superb as was the Lamb - there wasnt a single disappointing item on the table - even the rice which i find boring at the best of times was fluffy and fragrant. Desserts - now you're talking - I had Peanut Butter Parfait with Sugarcane Ice Cream and it was divine - the cheesecake was also very good. I want to go back for the dessert that alone. We all had coffees/teas/liqueur coffees and in all had a superb meal. The service was very good - attentive but not too in your face. The restaurant is a little cramped from a service point of view as the staff bring out large round trays with the stands to put them on, but that is more a problem for the staff than the customer.

Yes the meal is a lot more expensive than your usual curry house, but it is far from your usual curry house so well worth it. In all a very good meal and we are certainly going back for the next birthday occassion.

I can see that some other people had bad experiences on the same night we were in and I of course cannot speak for them, but we didnt experience any of the delays, poor service etc and had a thoroughly enjoyable and pleasant evening so dont be put off.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank suki M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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    Food
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Worth aVisit”
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We ate from the Sunday Lunch set menu

Starters... We all opted to have the same starter......
Basil Infused Grilled Chicken Fillets, Mango Pickle Marinated Chicken Kebab & Crisp Fried Chicken Salad
this chicken was delicious and we all could have eaten some more of this

Mains:- both my husband and I had the Rogan Josh Curry
served with two side vegetables of the day, rice & Bread.
This was a really nice tasting curry but would have liked a better choice of vegetable dishes....
one of the vegetable dishes was some kind of lentil which I thought was pretty tasteless
and thought the bread portion was a bit stingy....would have liked some more

my friend had the Goa Style Sirloin Steak with Pepper-Coconut Sauce & Coriander Chips
she would noit order this again as she said it was pretty bland

Sweet:- My husband and I both had the Cinnamon Apple Crumble with Custard....this was lovely. I opted to have mine with the cardamom ice cream as I am not a great lover of custard but wished I had not as the ice cream did not go with it...the custard btw was lovely!

my friend had the Dark Chocolate Fondant with Cardamom Ice Cream and she said she would have licked the plate if she could!

The Sunday set menu is £19.50 per person with a 12.5% Discretionary service charge
drinks are quite expensive but you can get a reasonably priced bottle of wine

our experience here was somewhat spolied by a family who were dining here with their children..while I don't believe that children should be seen and not heard...I do believe that if they are in a restaurant they should be made to sit at the table and not run around shouting,screaming and crying at the tops of their voices. The waiter apologised to us but we felt that the family in question should have been asked to keep their children under control.

We will return to eat from the main menu in the future

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank scottishlassLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South East England
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Nice food, bad service”
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We dined in the restaurant at peek time saturday night. Our table wasn't ready. We had to wait 40 minutes. There was no where to sit or even stand - we were embarrassingly squashed. The staff didn't offer to take our coats so we were stood at the bar in our coats boiling. I think they got greedy and tried for 2 sittings - but the timings didn't work.

I'm not complaining about the food (with the exception of the popadoms. Don't bother. It's like they opened a packet of crisps and put in a bowl for you). The food I ate was nice. But half of my group didn't have a starter and none of us had a dessert and it came to £40 a head.

This would be fine if the service was good - but it was average to say the least. When we eventually got seated our drinks order was not taken. Plates were put before us and then taken away again. My side dish was misplaced. It was a muddle and confusion.

I wouldn't bother trying this place on a saturday night until the hype has died down and they sort out their seating and staffing.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Leo075
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Not a pleasant evening at all!”
Reviewed January 13, 2013

I hate being negative but my birthday yesterday will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. What was to have been a nice celebratory dinner at Indian Essence in Petts Wood turned out to be a miserable and cold experience. It was just my husband and I and our table was booked for 8pm we arrived about 10 minutes before and shown quickly to Our seats. We were right next to the door and the weather was very cold and wet. Another long table was at the side of our table set for 10. We realised that it could be cold and asked the unsmiling man if it was possible to be seated further away but he didnt even pause, just shrugged and shook his head. It turns out he was the maitreD.
Eventually we were given menu and waiter took drinks order. The menu was interesting and both agreed on Atul Kuchars signature dishes as our main course. The starters were nice but then we waited over 3/4hr for main course, when it came, the waiter had to push way through about 20 people standing at the bar, the food may have been hot when it left the kitchen, it was not hot when it got to us. Throughout all this time the front door was being constantly left open and we were frozen. My husband on at least 4 occasions got up to shut the door after smokers went outside - few knew how to close a door it seems. Our food was OK but for the price, it was not as good as expected and due to our table position, was cold before we were halfway through it. In the end, the waiter saw I was shivering and asked if I wanted my coat which, bless him he retireved from the cloakroom. I was wearing a long sleeved dress, nothing flimsy. The table of 10 next to us saw our plight and agreed we had the worst possible table. When the waiter came to serve their starter, there was no room between the head waiter who gave the diners the plates and the waiter holding the tray of food so he stood in the doorway behind my husband. This nearly meant my husband had the tray literally resting on his head as the waiter could not see properly. It seemed funny at the time but on reflection, this should not ever have happened.
We decided that no way would we stay for dessert or coffee and then came the fun of trying to pay, we asked 5 different people including the shaven headed head waiter for our bill It took another 35 minutes to actually get the guy with the machine, (it was laying unused on the cocktail bar about 12feet away) and pay the £90 bill. We then went home, feeling cold and had coffee and port in front of the fire. This was meant to be a nice happy celebration and it was a truly rotten experience Mr Kucher you should be more aware of what is happening in a restaurant that bears your name. Squeezing more people in than you have staff to cover, putting tables in unheated places in the thick of winter and a surly unsmiling and definitely unwelcoming MaitreD is not a way to get us back in a hurry. It could well be that those dining further inside had a great experience and were warm but for us it was an expensive and thoroughly miserable evening. Anyone reading this take note and specifically ask for a table away from the door.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Italiaphobe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Bit of a let down”
Reviewed January 13, 2013 via mobile

Went to Indian Essence with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday. I was looking forward to it, as the menu on the website looked amazing. It was clear from the marketing (and the prices being charged!) that this was going to be an experience.

The table was booked for 8.30 and we got there a few minutes early, to find the restaurant filled to capacity and no place to wait. We stood at the bar for a drink but it was a real squeeze and as a result we just kept getting in the way of the serving staff which was awkward for them and us. No one offered to take our coats and it was only when one of our party insisted that one of the team found somewhere to hang them up for us.

By nine o'clock we still had not been seated and so asked one of the staff if we could have the first round of drinks on the house to make up for the delay. We were told no, but instead could have complementary drinks at the end of the meal. This was disappointing as this seems to be customary in some Indian restaurants anyway so I didn't feel it made up for the delay. Apparently the lounge area which is usually available for waiting had been changed to offer additional tables so that more people could eat there. Fair enough, but in my opinion, the restaurant would have served its customers better if it had kept the number of covers down and managed those better rather than trying to squeeze as many people in as possible.

We eventually sat down, but after another half an hour, some of our party had still not been offered a drink at the table and had to ask the waiter to do the necessary. It was just as well we did as I don't know how long we would have waited to be served otherwise. Another symptom of squeezing too many people into the restaurant.

I appreciate this kind of thing happens, and I can live with it, but for a restaurant charging the prices it was (around £15 for a main course) you would expect better.

That said, the food (when it arrived) was fantastic. Some of the best Indian food I have tasted in fact. The flavours were amazing and the goat in particular (as odd as it sounds!) was delicious. I should also add that, apart from the delays, the service was also top notch. Polite, friendly, helpful. Very impressive.

So overall a mixed evening. Amazing food and very pleasant staff, but at these prices I would be expecting an evening of Chapter One / Michelin star quality as opposed to one which was a bit disorganised. I wish them well and I'm sure it will be a success. If money is not an issue for you, then I would say to give them a go and enjoy it. And hopefully going forward they will be able to manage the number of diners better as they become more experienced. But for me I'll be sticking with Little India in future!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Mark O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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