THE owner of Warwick’s newest Indian restaurant promised ‘something different’ for his customers when he opened his doors last month.
There is no shortage of choice in our beautiful town when it comes to dining options, not least Indian cuisine, so this was always going to be a bold statement.
But I’m delighted to report that, following my visit there on Saturday evening, there is something rather special about Vivaanta, in West Street.
You only have to glance at the menu to be instantly enticed by the ‘Vivaanta Fusion Specialities’ and ‘Connoisseur Fusion Appetisers.’
It’s a menu designed for both the traditionalist (normally me!) as well as those feeling more adventurous in their pursuit of new flavours and combinations.
And for those who really want to put their faith in the experts, there’s a fantastic selection of Specials, including the Chef’s Special of the Day (‘An exclusive dish conjured up by the Head Chef who has used his great experience and cooking flair to create a unique dish that is a true representation of Anglo-Indian culinary arts.’ – Intriguing, you have to admit.)
Even the owner Ali Ahmed boasts his own special – boneless strips of chicken tikka with strips of onion, pepper, green chillies, fresh spinach and roasted garlic in a thick spicy sauce and served on a sizzling skillet.
Others of note include Duck 65 (Whole breast of duck lightly marinated in crushed ginger, garlic and ground pepper, slowly grilled and then served on a bed of Indian sweet and spicy veg); Lime Ginger Seabass (Pan fried fillets of seabass served on a bed of sauted spinach, potatoes and red juicy pepper with a hint of lime and ginger; and Modhubon Lamb (Tender chunks of lamb infused with honey, sweet mango and touch of fresh mint, then slow cooked with baby potatoes).
But stonewall traditionalists are not to be messed with, and there’s plenty of classic favourites – with the Vivaanta twist – to prevent them from leaving hungry!
Ali and his team of three chefs pride themselves on unique recipes, distinctive flavours and a blend of aromas, textures and spices which are showcased across the 65 curries on the extensive menu.
Ali said: “I have a passion for Indian cooking I’m always coming up with new ideas trying to mix Indian spices with western ingredients and developing fusion dishes.
“All of our ingredients are sourced locally, we only use the best and freshest ingredients, hence you will always find me in the vegetable markets in the early hours of most mornings.”
With successful businesses already operating in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Halesowen in the West Midlands, this marks Ali’s first foray into Warwickshire – and he’s keen to spend most of his time in this part of the world.
“I fell in love with Warwick and knew I wanted to open a restaurant here. It’s a lovely calm town, especially for me, as a city boy who has always had a busy lifestyle,” he said.
Vivaanta, on West Street, is open every day from 5.30-11pm and features a bar with an extensive drinks selection, including a range of popular gins.
Special is certainly the word of the moment when it comes to describing my experience at Vivaanta. The quality of the food is complemented by the convivial atmosphere and sophisticated surroundings that add up to a wonderful dining experience.
And it needn’t cost the earth. There is a three-course banquet deal available on Sundays for £9.95, consisting of starter, mains , accompaniments and dessert or coffee.
You can book on 01926 408408. Takeaways and deliveries are available within a four-mile radius. www.vivaanta.co.uk