Pan-Asian cuisine is notoriously tricky to execute successfully for fine-dining establishments because diners have certain expectations on what flavours they should expect and they want clear differentiation between different styles of Asian cuisines: spicer for Thai cuisine, sharper tastes for Japanese cuisine etc.†Nirvana Kitchen†negotiates this tightrope with a tremendous amount of success.
On a quiet backstreet inside the Montcalm hotel, it is refined, elegant and the ideal dining room for romantic dates with their soft tan and white leather seating and neutral wooden features. This is a venue for those special occasions when you want to impress someone.
Their menu has so much variety, it is impossible for anyone to not discover nuggets of culinary joy in the menu. The black cod I ordered has a velvety texture, with the flesh falling apart in large, delicate flakes. It was marinated in a distinct-tasting ‘Harissa’ sauce and if you still want more flavours, they provided a Thai som tam dip as well. My only feedback is they should have indicated on the menu that is was going to be a fried dish.
Lobster curry was a picture of perfection: a bright orange lobster shell protruding from a coconut shell. My only disappointment was the shell was just used for decorative purposes and not filled with plump lobster meat. Although they were inside the coconut shell invitingly mixing with the coconut and pineapple flavours. What was remarkable was how spicy the curry was; when I tried a similar coconut and pineapple curry elsewhere, it was all sweetness and very little spiciness.
There is a perceived weakness in Asian desserts and that is very much borne out here with dishes like chocolate fondant and chocolate berry mousse and the occasional oriental touches like mochi. For the diet conscious, the logical conclusion is to opt for their Asian fruit platter, which had exciting varieties like dragon fruit, lychee, mango and spicy yuzu.
The service here is discreetly attentive and they take great pride in their food. For example, it was explained that my black cod starter had been marinating for 24 hours prior for extra flavours. They do take time out to check your satisfaction in between courses to make sure customers are leaving with glowing feedback.
At the time of this article, they were doing a tremendous deal with various voucher sites offering 6 courses to share with a bottle of Prosecco for a mere £49 for 2 people. It’s definitely one of the best bargains I’ve seen in recent times.