New Indian restaurant The Infinitii hopes to put Abbots Bromley on the map as a destination for finer dining, as Amy Norbury discovers
When The Infinitii opened in the picturesque village of Abbots Bromley back in February, the restaurant had grand designs on changing the perceptions of Indian cuisine. With French-trained chef Indrajit Lahiri at the helm in the kitchen, embracing the concept of molecular gastronomy and bringing a modern style of cooking to authentic Indian flavours, and an impressive menu which couldn’t be further from your typical curry house offerings, all the ingredients were in place to make their mark.
But then, disaster struck in the form of the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants were forced to close, and after little more than a month of trading, The Infinitii’s promising journey was stopped in its tracks.
Determined not to let their hard work go to waste, the ambitious team quickly set about offering takeaway meals to showcase a little of what they had to offer, waiting for the day when they could unleash the full Infinitii experience once again.
And it was definitely worth the wait.
Since reopening at the earliest opportunity in July The Infinitii has garnered rave reviews from diners, quickly earning a reputation as a dining destination. Which is no mean feat for a restaurant still in its infancy.
After hearing recommendations from several friends, we were delighted to be invited over to sample The Infinitii for ourselves.
The restaurant is super stylish, offering an elegant yet relaxing space in which to enjoy not only top class dining but the array of specialist gins and mouth-watering cocktails available from the impressively stocked gin bar.
In these Covid times, there are safety measures in place to protect both staff and diners including contactless hand sanitising on entry and plenty of space between tables, while the staff themselves wear masks during service.
And what better way to fully immerse ourselves in the restaurant’s unique take on Indian dining than with a five-course tasting menu chosen by the head chef himself. A quick conflab determined that we were fuss-free diners willing to give anything a try, although the restaurant prides itself on accommodating myriad dietary requirements, with plenty of tasty options to suit vegan, gluten-free and keto diets among others.
A little amuse bouche to start proceedings comprised three dainty numbers; a pickled rhubarb cube, a pickled onion with smoked chicken and yoghurt spherification, and a cucumber cream cheese with heirloom tomato and honey glaze. They were tasty morsels, and couldn’t be further as an appetiser from the ubiquitous poppadoms usually offered – something that, incidentally, The Infinitii steers clear of.
Our first round of starters comprised two dishes which had caught our eyes on the menu; the aloo brie tikki and the Goan crab cake. The crab cake was light, flavoursome and packed with crab meat, topped with burst-in-the-mouth mango pearls and encased in a light foam – the molecular gastronomy well in evidence here. But it was the aloo brie tikki which was the surprise hit; spiced mashed potato stuffed with brie and coated in a crisp fine breadcrumb, it was certainly moreish.
Now, rabbit isn’t something you find on many a menu – and it’s almost unheard of when it comes to Indian fayre. And while the rabbit varuval perhaps isn’t a dish either of us would have ordered, this beautiful presentation of marinated wild rabbit and vegetables, was a standout offering of the evening. Beautifully balanced and perfectly spiced, it was a triumph. INSERT IMAGE: 3rd – Gin Cured Salmon.jpg
As was the gin-cured salmon with pickled vegetables which completed the second round of starter dishes. Marinated in local Nelson’s gin, this exquisitely presented dish is highlighted as one of the menu’s healthy options.
A palate cleanser of organic vegan mango sorbet from local Dalton’s Dairy Farm offered a little light refreshment before the main events.
The tasting menu usually serves up two main dishes, but chef Indrajit decided to throw in an extra taster to ensure we made the most of the Infinitii experience.
The three dishes on offer couldn’t have been more different, so it was difficult to pin down a favourite.
The smoky lal mass offered up a bit of culinary theatre, served under a smoking cloche which imparted a delicate smoky hit to the dish of superbly tender lamb loin, accompanied by a silky smooth rustic mash and a tomato chilli gravy which offered a nicely creeping heat.
At the other end of the flavour spectrum, the Kerala fish molee was a South Indian feast of pan-seared stone bass and coconut rice in a rich, indulgent coconut sauce, while the Chettinad chicken served up tandoor-cooked chicken breast on the bone with a sage pilau and a spicier coconut-based sauce.
They were three excellent dishes, and we’d happily order any one again.
While the portions aren’t overwhelming, they are certainly generous enough to satisfy, so we were pleased to move onto the fifth and final course. And with the sweet offerings, crafted by The Infinitii’s in-house pastry chef, we were certainly saving some of the best ‘til last.
The cinnamon chocolate mousse was a real dark cocoa-powered treat, with a warming hint of spice, but it was the gulab jamun cheesecake which stole the show. Using traditional Indian sweet fried dough balls as a base, the cheesecake was a revelation – light and creamy, topped with macerated strawberries, it was a slice of heaven. And that’s coming from someone who’s not a particular cheesecake fan.
Priced at just £30 per person, the tasting menu is an absolute steal, and the perfect way to embrace The Infinitii’s unique culinary concept. The seasonally changing menu, on the whole, offers superb value for money, with starters from just £5 and mains from £10.
Excellent food alongside exemplary, considerate service made our first dining out experience post-lockdown a hugely memorable one – and one we can’t wait to repeat.