Warm and delicious welcome
CREATING a culinary stir is the name of the game for Lavani. This Indian restaurant, which opened at the end of last year in Wellswood, Torquay, promises a very warm and enthusiastic welcome and delicious and different dishes to try.
With some of the team who were behind Cilantro in Paignton opening its doors, you can have high hopes for a tasty night out.
If you ever ate at Cilantro you will know flavour was key and to expect something over and above your everyday Indian restaurant.
At Lavani this is still delivered and the focus is on speciality cuisine with regional accents and Anglo-Indian dishes.
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This is not about the hottest vindaloo you can find washed down with five pints of lager, it is more about savouring the subtle and delicate flavours of India with plenty to get your palette pulsing.
With meats such as wood pigeon and venison along with stacks of seafood on offer, there are plenty of unique recipes on the menu.
For starters we enjoyed king prawns which were gently spiced, coated in hair thin pasta and fried to a crisp and dosai which is a southern Indian crepe and was filled with baby potatoes, onions and chutney.
Both were delicious, but we could easily have devoured a plate full of the prawns and still wanted more.
The starters were a signal of the fine food available and other offerings on the menu included squid, caviar, and Brixham scallops.
Before the main course we were treated to a complimentary soup of the day. Just a taste before we moved on to the main event.
Goan cuisine is showcased by the King fish main which we opted for. This fish is considered a delicacy in the Indian Ocean where they are found.
Chefs at Lavani cook it in mild spices, coconut, tamarind and curry leaves. It is served with a root mash, fish pickle, matta rice — which is a speciality from Kerala — and a baby naan bread.
Sampling more seafood we also tried the kukum salmon. From north Kerala this dish is flavoured with speciality tamarind called kukum — a purple berry fruit which is dried and used as spice. It is this which gives the dish an unusual smoky flavour which is an acquired taste.
It also was served with root mash, rice, pickle and baby naan.
To be honest selecting a main is a difficult choice with the slow cooked lamb shank, which was so popular at Cilantro, back on the menu.
For pudding the delicate flavours were topped off for us with a rose flavoured brûlée and a mango mousse. A very tasty night out.
What makes this restaurant special for me is the welcome and service you will receive. You are hosted like family and shown some of their secrets dishes to boot.