Take a journey at Mr Todiwala's
Published: 3 Jan 2013 09:300 comments
The décor is contemporary, refreshingly minimalist, stylish and yet informal, the staff are supremely professional and attentive and the standard and quality of food and wine go way beyond the norm.
The menu is a storybook of Indian cuisine at its best, taking the diner on an epicurean journey from Indian street food to a celebration of Gujarati, Goan and Maharashtrian and Parsee cooking styles. In Indian food circles, Cyrus Rustom Todiwala OBE, DL is not so much a chef restaurateur as a legend. He and wife Previn have won dozens of awards and accolades.
In March, Mr Todiwala cooked for The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at the start of their Diamond Jubilee tour.
There are various ways to approach a meal at Mr Todiwala's. You can select independently or opt for the set menu. You can also choose from a specially assembled menu of five courses, with side dishes, including naan, raita, papad (poppadoms made from lentils) and chutneys, with dessert and as many top-ups as desired (£45), or for the gourmands who like to take their time - and have a capacious appetite - there is a full tasting menu (£70) including paired wines. Or, you can ask the chef to create dishes to your preference.
We tried the tasting menu and the meal yielded many delights and surprises, including experiencing Indian wines. We tried Sauvignon Blanc Sula Nashik from vineyards near Mumbai, which was fresh, crisp and herbaceous, and a lovely fragrant red, Barrique Reserve Shiraz, Ritu Maharashtra which worked perfectly with the meat dishes, in particular venison tikka. The quality of produce is first rate, and the duck, venison, salmon and chicken are all clearly sourced from the very best suppliers. You will not find colourings or preservatives here. The menu confirms that the meat, fish and poultry are either organic, free range or friendly farmed and come from sustainable resources.
Among the surprises and delights were organic red rice served on a banana leaf. The caramelised beetroot with cardamon was delicious and jars of this and other condiments are available to buy in the restaurant. A selection of three condiments were served with gluten free papad, followed by a game samosa - a little parcel of deliciousness.
Of the main dishes, many would be wary of vindaloo. This is a traditional Goan vindaloo, with a Portuguese heritage, and the original dish was always made of pork or 'porco'. Mr Todiwala's version, (from British Lop Eared pig variety), was spicy but by no means fiercely so and I recommend it.
While we had little space for pudding, the melange of sweet treats: pepper ice cream, strawberry ice, a carrot coriander and pistachio confection, and bruleed cardamon and saffron crème - was a fabulous finale.
While it may seem unusual to head out to a Heathrow hotel for dinner, it has a number of advantages - not least London-style dining without battling with London traffic. There is free parking, and a real sense of arrival and occasion.
Where: Hilton, London Heathrow Terminal 5, Poyle Road, Colnbrook, SL3 0FF
Phone: 01753 766482
Opening times: Mondays-Saturdays, from 6-10.30pm