Denley’s Essence Of India, Topsham

Denley's Essence Of India, Topsham

I love Topsham. It’s only a short train ride from Exeter but feels worlds away. Topsham is a bustling little town full of independent businesses, pubs, bars and cafes. A great destination for a day trip or in my case this time, a night out.

Steve and I had a table booked at Denley’s Essence of India. With a perfect location on Topsham’s High Street its very convenient and is easy to find. We arrived to a warm welcome and were shown to our table. Denley’s Essence of India pride themselves on their delicious Indian cuisine prepared by top chefs in stylish surroundings. Located in a Topsham former dairy it certainly no longer resembles! The interior is sleek and smart with some tables having booth like partitions for a more intimate feeling. Denley’s Essence of India seats 50, making it the largest curry restaurant in Devon although it doesn’t feel cavernous inside. Quite the opposite in fact.

Menus presented and drinks ordered, Steve and I deliberated over our choices for quite some time. I was more than hungry as we were dining quite late. Watching all the wonderful dishes coming out to the other diners certainly got my taste buds tingling.

We decided, finally on a small selection of dishes to share. I love communal dining and having the opportunity to try as many dishes as I possibly can. Thankfully Steve does too! Two dishes that certainly stood out were the Spice Monk Mela and the Harin Jury Fry. The first being monkfish marinated in garlic, mint, coriander and turmeric then cooked in the tandoor. The fish was moist with a gentle hum of spice. It was exceptional. Our second dish had a nod to the impending Christmas festivities. Venison stir-fried with aznan, ginger root, cumin seeds and nigella seeds cooked with onions, peppers and mushrooms. I have never had anything like this before in an Indian restaurant. Steve’s favourite dish was from the specials board. Slow cooked lamb shank in a medium curry sauce. He said the meat was succulent and fell from the bone. Another unusual dish that neither of us had experienced before.

That’s what I loved about my evening at Denley’s Essence of India. The authentic dishes that are often not found on menus in other curry restaurants. In my opinion, Denley’s Essence Of India has got their menu just right. Yes, they have their tikka’s, balti’s and the like but they also have the more unusual. The service was exceptional too. I would highly recommend a visit.

For those that don’t want to sit in, a takeaway service is available for collection. We saw many sit up at the bar with a beer whilst waiting for their takeaway order.

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