Sindhu is an alternative name for the Indus river, and for two years this restaurant has been at the Compleat Angler hotel overlooking the river Thames in Marlow. It is overseen by Atul Kochhar, whose flagship restaurant is Benares in Mayfair. When I ate here the kitchen was in transition between chefs. The new head chef is Prabhu Ganapati , who previously had worked for P&O Cruises as chef de cuisine of a shipboard restaurant also called Sindhu. Tonight Atul Kochhar was heading up the kitchen here in Marlow.
The dining room is carpeted and has well spaced tables, the room looking out over the water. There was a tasting menu at £65, as well as a full a la carte selection. The wine list was well put together and mark-ups were lower than I was expecting. There were options such as Trimbach Riesling 2013 at £37 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £14, Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape 2012 at £51 compared to its retail price of £24, and Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir 2012 at £74 for a wine that will set you back £29 in a shop.
After popadoms with a selection of chutneys was a nibble of a fried lentil with coriander and a spiced tomato sauce. This was very good, the lentils having pleasing texture and the spicing being lively (14/20). Soft shell crab came with crab kofta, some fried calamari, passion fruit and mango chutney. This was pleasant, the fried crab having a crisp coating, the squid tender and the fruit bringing some balancing acidity to the dish (13/20).
Tandoori tiger prawns were very accurately cooked, served with yoghurt and flavoured with saffron and spices. Cooking large prawns like these is tricky to get right, but these were spot on (14/20). Stone fish with beetroot, crushed potato and coconut sauce was outstanding. The fish was again very carefully cooked, and the coconut brought freshness to the dish that nicely offset the earthiness of the vegetables (15/20).
Chicken biryani was good (13/20), the meat avoiding the dryness that often afflicts this dish. The hint of saffron and blend of spices worked well, the rice fluffy (14/20). Black dhal was superb, slow-cooked and having a deep, smoky flavour (15/20). A selection of bread was excellent, the texture of each lovely (14/20). A side dish of potatoes with pureed spinach, browned garlic, ginger and chilli was pleasant, the texture of the potatoes being properly retained, the spicing livening up the spinach (13/20).
To finish, mango kulfi had plenty of fruit flavour and light texture (13/20). The bill came to £93 with a bottle of wine to share and pre-dinner drinks. If you ordered three courses and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per head might be around £70. This is obviously more than a night out in your local curry house, but then the food is much better than that too. Service was slick, led by a manager who worked previously at The Royal Oak, amongst other places. The only slight service issue was a rather elongated wait between dishes, due I think to a large private function that was occupying the attention of the kitchen. Other than that things worked smoothly, with good topping up of drinks. Overall, I enjoyed Sindhu, the best dishes genuinely top notch. If you are ever in the area then this restaurant is worth a look.