There’s lunch and then there’s lunch. A visit to East India Café in Cheltenham is undoubtedly an Anglo- Indian dining experience like no other. Located in the heart of the Montpellier area of Cheltenham, this gem of a restaurant transports its guests back to the British Raj period of India in an exceptional culinary journey from one course to the next.

East India Café adds a delicious contemporary twist to each and every traditional dish with homegrown herbs and freshly ground spices. There is attention to detail in every respect and the whole dining experience is delivered with style, precision and sophistication but in a relaxed and homely environment.

My coat was hung up on arrival, cutlery was laid out by Madaleine and Lydia wearing white gloves and there were some delightful little extra touches such as a lovely welcome drink, palate cleansers between courses and a hot towel after the meal. Each course was explained in detail when it was brought to the table and the service was timely with needs anticipated at every opportunity such as the topping up of water.

First we were treated to an exquisite amuse bouche of a papadum topped with cauliflower and broccoli chaat and panch phoron infused mango chutney. This was followed beautifully by Chef’s Appetiser of the Day, which was a selection of British autumn produce with rice, noodles and soya.

As a starter I opted for the King prawn and English mustard prawn tikki with a prawn and garlic mayo. My plus one chose the Paneer tikka, double Gloucester pakora with beetroot chutney and aubergine puree. Both dishes were a taste sensation with no overpowering spices, just the perfect combination of delicious flavours.

As a main course, I chose the Lentils Bhuna, Kala chana and spinach bhaji with pineapple and chill chutney with my plus one opting for the ultimate test in fine Indian cuisine; the 14 day matured Cotswold lamb, EIC mix masala, hung curd with bhuna lentils and it passed with flying colours for its tenderness and taste. Both dishes were served with an equally impressive range of accompaniments.

After seeing what delights were on offer dessert wise, I made sure I left enough space to try them and was so glad I did. To finish, we were treated to a heavenly Gula Jamun cheesecake with gin and tonic apricot and chef’s choice of kulfi and also a wickedly moreish Kashmiri chilli, dark chocolate and chocolate ice cream.

Good customer service is aiming to meet customer expectations whereas excellent customer service is surpassing them. In the humble origins of its offering, East India Café manages to take excellence to a whole new level. It’s a real team effort with everyone working together to provide the very best of experiences for guests. With a first class service, fit for a British Raj but without a matching first class price tag, lunch at East India Café is one you can’t afford to miss. It was perfectly summed up as the ‘Best lunch ever’ and I challenge you not to agree if you try it.

Thank you to East India Café for inviting me to sample the Set Lunch Menu in exchange for an honest review. I only ever feature the very best of the best on the Lady Janey blog. All views and opinions are my own.

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