Eating at the Simla Indian Diner

We (me and my wife) hadn’t planned to do this yesterday but having decided on an impromptu visit to my sister and her husband we ended up eating out – at an “Indian” – this one in the “village” of Hullbridge’s High Street, Ferry Road, just before the River Crouch. As is my custom these days, I felt a review would be in order.

I suppose I am a connoisseur of Indian restaurants, having visited many over the years, both in the UK and India, and it was tempting to unfairly compare Simla with Indian restaurants we have visited quite recently. This Bangladeshi establishment, and this by their own admission, was definitely more geared up for English tastes, for some of the dishes my Indian wife enquired concerning were not present. Even so, there was enough to choose from. When ordering drinks I was disappointed Kingfisher lager wasn’t on offer but we were well served by the attentive waiter. We began our culinary adventure with poppadoms and the range of dips that is these days customary. It was all very nice and boded well for what followed.

Then came a range of starters, which we shared among us. We didn’t have to wait long and what struck me here (and with the main later) was the freshness of the ingredients as well as the superb taste. The food was prepared at the time by a clearly skilled chef. My wife who does a mean tandoori chicken herself was impressed with what was offered here and I was pleased with my fish grill. We were pleased with our main dishes also and one – the lamb really did have the wow factor and I rather liked the prawn chef special I ordered. My brother-in-law enjoyed his chicken curry. The naan bread and onion bhaji was good although not outstanding. We decided to share desserts and was disappointed that the choice was limited although it was a nice end to an enjoyable meal in a setting that allowed good conversation in pleasant surroundings. The restaurant provided us with a range of complementary beverages before settling the bill.

I had never heard of the Simla before yesterday but I was pleased my sister suggested we go there and glad we went. The restaurant had a pleasant ambience and we couldn’t fault the service or the food on offer. We didn’t have anything left over at the end, unlike visits elsewhere, but we all felt full at the end. The freshness of the ingredients and skill in preparation was in my view the outstanding feature and made up for a price tag that was more than with the last two Indian restaurants we visited. But we plan to go again, noting there are two pleasant riverside walks (right and left) at the end of the road, which we could do in order to raise an appetite.

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