Top Indian resto makes for cracking Christmas treat

Fancy a spot of Christmas shopping in the UK? It starts early for the Brits and, if so, a visit to the historic Kent city of Canterbury makes for a quick and easy option for visitors from Belgium.

One other good reason to visit now is Canterbury Cathedral,which is currently undergoing a £24.7 million scheme to carry out vital restoration work designed  to open it and its historic collections to as many people as possible. One million people already visit the Cathedral every year as worshippers, visitors and pilgrims.

While it can’t claim to attract quite as many visitors, the city's Ambrette restaurant is one other very good reason to pop over the channel for some seasonal shopping in the Garden of England.

The restaurant is one of three owned by Dev Biswal (the others are in Margate and the Devil in Rye, East Sussex).

Dev comes with a top notch CV – he was  named Asian Chef of the Year at the Asian Restaurant Awards earlier this year – and the high class cuisine served here is just as impressive.

The eatery, just a stone’s throw from the city’s famous cathedral, boasts a unique combination of classic and authentic dishes from the sub-continent, all with modern gastronomic techniques.

The innovative combination of exotic ingredients and seasonal, local fresh produce goes down a real treat with Dev’s loyal band of customers who include the many tourists who flock to the city.

Dev says the many awards he and The Ambrette has received is great testimony to the dedication of his talented teams “who work tirelessly to achieve consistent high standards and create such exceptional culinary experiences."

Most recently,Dev’s restaurants in Canterbury and Margate were selected in the final three of the Visit Kent Tourism Awards for the 2019 Taste of England award.

The restaurant in Canterbury, a nice combination of both the chic and cosy, is widely and rightly lauded for its imaginative and modern take on Indian cuisines.

Beware though – you won’t find a “traditional” curry anywhere on the menu here!

Its delicate approach to traditional Indian food makes for a fabulously tasty take on mixing British and Asian cuisines. Little wonder, then, that the respective Hardens Guide noted this year that “every mouthful is an amazing burst of flavour.”

The service is just as good as the food, illustrated by the friendly,Spanish-born Melo who happily and expertly guides diners through both the food and lovely wine cards, all accompanied by a big smile. On some nights there’s also a resident pianist to serenade guests over their samosas.

Dev, over the years, has won a clutch of glittering awards including some from fussy food critics in the UK who know a good thing when they see (or taste) it.

He grew up in Orissa, was educated in Calcutta and trained at the Dubai Sheraton, before moving to London, aged 26 in 2003. He became a partner in The Indian Princess in Margate in December 2006, becoming patron and rebranding it as The Ambrette in 2010. His second restaurant, in Rye, opened in November 2011.  His restaurants are recommended by all the country’s top restaurant guides, including Michelin, AA, Good Food and Harden’s and he was the resident chef on Channel 4 TV’s ‘Superscrimpers’, showing how to prepare gourmet meals on a budget.

Cobra Good Curry Guide editor Pat Chapman says Dev’s food “never fails to delight.”

There are now scores of top Indian chefs in the UK creating wonderful dishes, so for Dev and his businesses to be signalled out is some accolade but well earned.

The Ambrette, 14-15 Beer Cart Lane, Canterbury, Kent.

T: 0044 (0) 1227 200 777

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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