London may think itself the culinary capital of England and for sheer volume and variety of restaurants it wins hands down.
But the Home Counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire have long been favoured by chefs such as Michel Roux and Heston Blumenthal looking to branch out into more idyllic landscapes.
The result is a rich vein of gastronomic gold just waiting to be mined by anyone willing to break away from the big city and stride out into the countryside.
Part of the renowned Macdonald Compleat Angler hotel, where the Queen once dined with the president of Hungary, the Indian restaurant is set in the chocolate box English town which is home to Olympic rower Steve Redgrave.
Go for an appetite-boosting stroll through the nearby Higginson Park and you will find his statute watching over the swans, geese, ducks and other wildlife floating by on the Thames.
The restaurant is set right on the riverside, offering spectacular views of the tranquil landscape through charming stained glass windows.
Turn your gaze away from the gently flowing waters and you will discover a richly decorated room with a menu that will awaken your tastebuds and fire up your palette.
Black tableware lent added drama to the delicate flavours of my tandoor cooked tiger prawns with saffron, yoghurt and spices.
My date’s soft shell crab sat prettily, if a like spider-like, on a bed of delectable calamari and passion fruit drizzle.
Indian mains are hard to present in an artistic way and my lamb chettinad looked a little lost on the plate but I soon discovered the flavours were capable of doing all the talking.
The tandoor grilled cutlets were marinated in 21 spices for 24 hours producing a complex but subtle flavour to the tender meat. Accompanied by polenta upma and a kachumbar salad, it was without a doubt one of the best lamb dishes I have ever eaten.
My companion’s murgh makhani with chicken tikka in a creamy tomato and fenugreek sauce was another hit with plenty of meat and a taste head and shoulders above that of most Indian restaurants.
And the extra touches are all there at Sindhu - complementary popadums with three equally moreish chutneys, compressed hand towels expanded in front of your eyes with water from a tiny teapot, a snowflake shaped sugar crystal on my Granny Smith sorbet and the surprise appearance of some Indian sweets.
There was a graceful ceremony to the entire meal, allowing us to sit back and let a sense of calm wash over us as we enjoyed the views.
I found the cool, calm waters of Marlow and exotic flavours of Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu an intoxicating combination.
Those who want to extend the relaxation can book a stay at the hotel and sample it’s own fine dining Riverside Restaurant, or perhaps pay a return visit to Sindhu.
£65pp for a seven course tasting menu
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