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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

10% Discount with Privilege Card from 11am to 7.30pm
10% Discount with Privilege Card from 11am to 7.30pm
50% off the food bill Monday through to Saturday

In an age when Italian-style fast food means having a quick plate of pizza or pasta, Vapiano takes things one step further and makes things fun and well, practically interactive....

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Bankside Restaurant Bar
32 Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1
0845 345 1723

The bar was doing brisk business but the large dining room was virtually deserted when we arrived in the early evening. That’s not usually a good sign but any alarm bells were quickly dispelled – firstly by the food itself and secondly by the fact that within forty minutes every single table was taken.

Kevin Macdonald, who apparently used to be Kenneth Clarke’s personal chef, is the owner of Bankside. Perhaps the full-bodied politician swapped him for a personal trainer. If he did, his loss is our gain.

The fact is that this place offers exceptional value for money. On the short but varied enough menu all starters and deserts are £4 and mains are priced between £7.50 and £9.50. Nor are prices on the wine list racked up to compensate. House wines are £10 and other choices range from an Italian Chardonnay at £11 to a French Flurrie at £18.50 – and those prices are per litre, not bottle!

My starter of citrus cured salmon with a tomato and mango salsa was excellent with the salmon/mango combination being particularly successful. My companion’s roasted tomato, artichoke and rocket salad also met with approval – the still juicy roasted tomatoes coming in for particular praise.

My main course of kedgeree was a fine example of this classic English dish. A tasty combination of curried rice, egg and flaky smoked haddock, it came with the much-appreciated added extras of crispy mini popadams and a Chinesey-tasting curry sauce. My companion was also pleased with the vegetarian option she opted for – celeriac and spinach sausages on a grain mustard mash – which featured two large and flavoursome crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside sausages perched on a pile of very good mash.

In the interest of research, for desert I had to try the rhubarb crumble and custard, something I haven’t tasted since undergoing rhubarb aversion therapy at school. As a result rhubarb and me have now reconciled our differences and shall hereafter try to keep in touch, because this one was outstandingly good. My companion too, had no complaints whatsoever with a“perfect” crème brulee.

British comfort food at its best – I only wish this neighbourhood brasserie was in my neighbourhood.

Average price per person without drinks: £16

Food: 4.5
Service: 5
Atmos: 4.5
VFM: 5