We visited Prithvi with some friends who had eaten there several times before. Despite this, I didn't feel we were given any special treatment because our friends were known to them; watching how the staff behaved with other diners led me to believe that they gave the same level of service to everyone.
So, I shall start with that. The service. Absolutely exceptional. Friendly but not intrusive. When a dish was presented, every member of staff knew their job and it felt like a real event; an unveiling. They were welcoming and inclusive of the small child that was in our group, and making him feel as if he were an integral part of our group meant that he was relaxed, beautifully behaved and open to try everything.
The owner was involved in the service, which I always like to see, since the rest of the staff know they are working alongside their boss, rather than simply *for* them, which means they end up with so much more respect and pride in their own positions. This really shines through in their demeanour. I would like to think that each and every one of them enjoys their job; they certainly gave that impression.
Onto the food. Well, this is nothing like any other Indian meal I have ever experienced. No metal bowls, brimming over with thick, homogenised sauces being dumped on the table, or simmering away over tea lights. Each dish is beautifully presented, served in its entirely on a suitable plate. They are works of art and, despite looking much smaller than a traditional Indian meal, they are portioned brilliantly so you are left perfectly satiated, a little full, but not to that uncomfortable bursting point that you often experience in other Indian restaurants, just by trying to make a dent in the dishes.
The flavours. Wow, the flavours. Whether it's a piece of salmon, monkfish, lamb, beef, prawn or chicken, everything is spiced and seasoned to perfection. Everything was quite spicy, but so well balanced that it wasn't even particularly noticeable. The spices were layered so that the warmth seemed to grow gently from one mouthful to the next, leaving a delightful sensation of heat without the gasping and reaching for the water jug. Even the child in our party tried some of the spicier dishes and asked for another taste.
Between courses, we were given additional "amuse bouches", each of which was presented beautifully and gave an explosion of flavours. Each was a surprise and a delight. Even the child, who was eating a curry specially prepared and served at the time of our starters, was included in these and it was a real surprise to see him unquestioningly eating them and declaring "deeeeeeelicious!" after each new sensation.
In conclusion, would I go back? Try to keep me away! I just wish they were a little closer to home.
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