Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
St Katherine?s Dock, London E1 Tel: 020 7480 6116
Cost: about Â£35 for three courses a la carte; set menu two courses Â£14.50/three courses Â£17.50
Finding one?s way towards a specific location deep in the bowels of St Katherine?s Dock is no easy matter. Like the Barbican, signage is utterly useless so just keep asking passersby the way to The Aquarium and you will eventually get there. And it is worth the effort. Putting aside the maritime view, I find the room somewhat bland (chocolate, cream and wooden floors) in a post-70s revival sort of way. But the husband and wife team of Kerstin and Christian Sandefelt more than compensate for this with good service and some outstanding cooking.
Given its location it is no surprise that The Aquarium specialises in fish, but Christian Sandefelt has some surprises in store. The carpaccio of tuna and veal is presented on a massive square plate, checkerboard style and, considering how many chefs are being clever with classic Italian cooking it is surprising that we have not seen this presented as an updated vitello tonnatto because this is a combination that works. Seared scallops and caviar with horseradish veloutÃ© shows the chef?s Scandinavian roots and, again, the combination is surprising both because I have not tasted it before and because it is successful, the horseradish giving spice to the combination of salty caviar and sweetly seared scallops.
Arctic char is too-infrequently seen on menus, but this is a fish with a lot going for it, delicate but with a pronounced character, almost a bit like sea trout. Here it is served steamed, to preserve its character, with a seafood risotto cake and a citrus and truffle salad for a bit of umph. Roast halibut is served with chorizo-braised lentils and wild mushrooms, a treatment this meaty fish copes with very well. We don?t usually expect dramatic desserts at a seafood restaurant, but the raspberry omelette soufflÃ© provided a sufficiently decadent end to a modestly caloric meal, rather sweet, standing proudly freeform, firm but moist with a suggestion of liquidity at its heart. And even though it?s no easier to find your way out than in, I had the taste of that soufflÃ© to keep my warm.