Royal Ruchi, Abbots Bromley - food review (COMMERCIAL FEATURE)
It is famed for its horn dance and its success in the Best Kept Village competition. Yet Abbots Bromley has another thing worth putting it on the map – the Royal Ruchi restaurant.
This year, villagers tasted double success in the large village category for East Staffordshire and the Community Council of Staffordshire's trophy for the whole county.
And, to celebrate, they had a sample of what was on offer at the Bagot Street eatery with a six-course taster menu. The restaurant regularly hosts taster evenings, having previously enjoyed success with a Michelin-inspired event, working with top chefs from London. Further events have been staged on demand. It is concept that the restaurant staff belief is unique.
While the traditional horn dance dates back to the Middle Ages, the Royal Ruchi only has years of service to the village to fall back upon. It has a country cottage feel, with beams across the ceiling and has a subtle warm colour scheme. Yet its smart and elegant interior is complimented by the 18th and 19th century Indian artefacts. It includes an exclusive private dining room which seats up to 30, complete with a stunning large circular tables seating up to 10.
Owner Rafique Chowdhury has 30 plus years experience within the industry in Staffordshire, having previously owned Saleem Bagh in Cannock and the Zafroni restaurants in both Cannock and Birmingham.
Its tasting menu is designed to increase the knowledge of the average Indian foodie while at the same time enhancing the Indian culinary experience. The menu displayed items from across different cities and regions of the Indian continent and it is a move away from its usual menu choices.
The experience allows the diner to sit back, relax and not worry about what to choose from large menus, but instead to anticipate and indulge in the next unique course offering.
My husband and I were greeted by Mr Chowdhury and his staff who were very engaging and escorted us to our table. The setting was luxurious with a perfect ambiance and soft lighting. We settled down and then our welcome drinks arrived, a glass of lemon sherbet and gin topped with Prosecco. A perfect start to the evening.
The first course presented to us was the Amuse Bouche, a spiced masala chicken soup with dhal puri – described to us as a mother's fresh homemade breakfast item cooked on Saturday mornings in the homes of Delhi, served with soft puffed bread filled with mildly spiced lentils.
This dish was served in a cute little cup and can only be described as a little portion with a big taste.... one of my personal favourites from the evening.
The second course of Subz Trio followed. This consisted of three small starter samples, namely chilli paneer – cubes of cottage cheese tossed with chilli, gol gappa – a crowd-pleasing Indian street food snack, aloo tikka – mashed potato patties mixed with spices, a north Indian delicacy found in the cafe-style eateries. On a normal menu, neither my husband nor I would have opted for any of these starters but were pleasantly surprised by all of them. A great example of why the tasting menus are so popular.
The third course was a fish course which consisted of pan-grilled fillet of sea bass served on a bed of Goan creamy cheese spinach. The presentation of this dish was subtle, yet stunning and the sea bass was cooked to perfection. As the evening flowed every dish was presented and explained in full to us; Next up was a sample of three different chicken options served with a salad mix. Murgh dalcha – delicately spiced chicken cutlets; malia tikka – Tandoori cooked chicken supreme and Hariyali tikka – chicken breast rubbed with an intoxicating paste. Each flavour was totally different from the next and thoroughly enjoyed both of us.
After another short interval we were presented with the lamb course, their signature supreme carved Maharaja roast lamb, marinated in Mughal spices. This dish was served with moong chana daal, rice and freshly baked Tandoori bread. It looked and tasted magnificent – the star of the evening for us.
But there was more! The dessert was served on a slate plate, and consisted of three mini puds; rose gulab jamun – a berry sized sphere soaked in rose flavoured sugar syrup; tusha shinni– a lightly spiced, soft, sweet dessert, a recipe passed down from the chef's ancestors and sweet caramel ice cream.
The whole evening was fantastic and the food and service was out of this world and Mr Chowdhury's passion to showcase all that was on offer was evident.