Dinner at D.a.s.t.a.a.n

 

Last summer Mr M mentioned he’d seen a small restaurant a short distance from us amongst the parade of small shops in Ewell. The restaurant being Dastaan which opened it’s doors towards the end of 2016 and after a bit of research we realised this relatively new establishment was a local gem that we had somehow missed on our restaurant radar.


I made a booking to celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary (advisable to book early to avoid disappointment) and I am so glad we did. Ever since moving to Surrey in 2009 I have been a little disappointed with the indian restaurants in our locality that is until now of course. Dastaan is the joint venture for Sanjay Gour and Nand Kishor two internationally acclaimed Chefs who have in my opinion placed Epsom firmly on the map for fantastic cuisine.

Both have glittering CV’s in the culinary trade. Sanjay combines his expertise in desserts with a lighter version of indian sweets and all things spice working at events such as the BAFTA’s and GQ Awards. He worked with Angela Hartnett, as pastry chef at her restaurant, Michelin-starred Murano. Success continued as he worked as Head Chef at one of the most talked about Michelin star Indian restaurant of London Gymkhana. Chef Nand from Mumbai has extensive training in the mixing of spices working in different restaurants, going onto to open Trishna restaurant which received a Michelin star in 2012 and in 2014, and then onto the Gymkhana restaurant as Head Chef.

The moment we walked into the restaurant we could see and feel the ambience, the tables were busy with families, friends couples, a real mix of guests. I liked the warm welcome and we didn’t have to wait long before our drinks arrived. I went for wine. He went for beer. Fortunately my parents came to stay so that we were able to head out sans child. Also managed to get the Taxi of Dad booked for later that evening.

The tables are pretty closely arranged together which I don’t mind as the restaurant isn’t huge, the staff were friendly and were great in advising us about the dishes. I like the fact that the menu wasn’t overwhelmed with dishes. I think sometimes in life we are presented with too much choice and it complicates things!

We went for the following with rice and naan breads.

STARTERS

PaniPuri 

Beetroot Tikki with Tadka Yogurt

Samosa Chaat

MAINS

Methi Chicken Fresh Fenugreek

Pork Vindaloo with Goan Spices


We were sadly too full to order desserts and it was a shame as we were both looking forward to the Pistachio Kulfi.  Something to correct the next time we visit! The standard of food here is exceptionally tasty, non greasy and filling.  I generally can’t  believe our luck having the restaurant on our doorstep. It does get busy and it’s clear to see why as the food really is outstanding. I’ve read reviews comparing this restaurant to Michelin star Jamavar in Mayfair London so you know you won’t be disappointed.

I really hope to return soon for another magnificent feast. There is also a Take away service available which makes this even more of a win win for me. But I’m not the only one winning as Michelin has also included Dastaan in their Bib Gourmands guide to Great Britain and Ireland 2018. It’s one of 27 restaurants to win the accolade which recognises simple yet skillful cooking at a reasonable price.  Congratulations to the team!

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Dastaan, 447 Kingston Rd, Epsom, KT19 0DB

e: info@dastaan.co.uk  

 

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

 

Bocketts Farm Park Visit



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I find one of the joys of being an older parent is being made to feel all young again visiting lots of places with my pre-schooler. Whereas most of our friends have children who ditched nappies long long ago I will be with my changing bag for some time yet. It is of course fine and life is fun as we are thoroughly enjoying our summer so far heading to visitor attractions most of which remind me of my childhood.  I  say that and I never actually went to a farm when I was young but I did go to local zoo’s and remember seeing lots of animals which is where my interest in animals started.

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Mr M and I are trying to take advantage of the little sunshine hours we have in this Country recently taking a trip to Bocketts Farm Park set in the beautiful Surrey countryside. It was particularly warm on the day so armed with Nivea SPF 50 and lots of snacks we arrived after a short drive and purchased our tickets.  This is the only negative I feel I need to write which is that adult entry costs £9.50 and child entry (3-17yrs) costs £9.95, Jay is three next year but I must admit paying £8.30 as he is nearly two and a half still seems dear to me. Then again I have seen higher admission costs elsewhere so I guess this isn’t so bad in comparison.  Mr M purchased a bag of animal food for the animals that you are allowed to feed and as soon as our wrist bands were on we set off to explore our surroundings.

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Optional extras:

Bag of animal feed 95p,

Tractor and Trailer ride £1.25 per person,

Pony Rides (3-12 years old only) £2.00 per ride,

Electric tractors and diggers £1 per ride,

Gold Panning £2 per pan (seasonal),

Water Wars £1 per bucket (seasonal).

 

Being a working farm, there are always baby animals to see including kids, piglets and chicks and ducklings. There are  extensive play areas and facilities for children of all ages. Inside are two play barns ‘ with a 70ft 4-lane astroslide which Jay and his daddy went on twice.  There are also trampolines and rides on tractors. We took a 15 mins tractor ride at the start of our visit which I thought was lovely and it was good to see that there were wash areas especially after feeding the animals. We didn’t get to see the pig race may be next time!

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There are also adventure trails, and a jumping pillow although Jay wasn’t that interested in the pillow and much preferred the wooden maze. The farm also has an 18th-century barn converted into a tea room and a sand pit nearby. We of course loved the gift shop but sadly were too late to purchase fresh farm eggs which taste so much better than shop bought.

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During half term there are various farm activities offered so always worth checking online perhaps.  I know we will return when Jay is a little older as he will be able to understand much more. He particularly loved the small animals and was fascinated by chickens and the degus. I can’t wait to go when spring lambing begins and see the birds of prey flying demonstrations.

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We did film our visit which you can see on my YouTube channel and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the farm, judging by Jay’s face he had an entertaining time. If you can get here the address is Bocketts Farm Park, Young Street, Fetcham, Leatherhead, KT22 9BS. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. I do feel that farm visits are incredibly educational and a wonderful way for children to learn and respect animals.

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

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Purple Fields of Mayfield

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Lavandula angustifoli 

I have been trying to make the most of the past few weeks with my precious boy before he starts Pre-school in September. I still like my firsts with him, like baking which we recently attempted although he showed no interest and then we visited a family run organic lavender farm in the lovely North Surrey Hills while the sun came out to play. Now this was absolutely stunning and even Jay was impressed and enjoyed running through the aromatic rows of lavender.

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I don’t particularly have an interest in this flower but my goodness what a visual treat purple hues and blues and the smell around you is subtle and yet intoxicating with the gentle hum of bees…yes bees so bear that in mind when deciding what to wear before a visit! Lavender has long been valued not only for its fresh, sweet smell, but also for its wide and varied therapeutic benefits. Its history goes back at least as far as the Roman Empire where dried lavender was used to freshen the wash water and the lavender oil was used to treat battle wounds. In modern times dried lavender and its oil has many uses both medicinally and for the home. It is both medicinal and soothing, working as a natural sleep aid something I could do with using more of I think.

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As we drove up to the entrance I could see why the location is a photographer’s dream. You don’t get much for £1 these days but that was the entry fee which included parking. This place deserves many more visits and it’s perfect for a private party because you can hire the area for celebrations too and a spot of afternoon tea. It’s my kind of celebratory venue (hint for Mr M if he’s reading this).
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Whilst this is a place for all old and young I can see the appeal for the romantic types walking hand in hand with your love and enjoying a drink and snack in the cafe in beautiful surroundings. There’s even a British red (can’t miss it) telephone box for added contrast.
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 My first attempt to get my son to have a photo taken with me.
A calming but colourful place I can see us returning again when the lavender is in full bloom.
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My second attempt to get my son to have a photo with me!

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Third time lucky!!

Jay fell asleep in the car as we drive home, possibly the lavender effects or just from all the excitable running away from his mummy. If you are thinking of heading to Mayfield do check out their website. I’ve also done a little vlog of our visit which will be up on my YouTube Channel soon.

Mayfield thank you for a wonderful morning of visionary delights.

Love

Bella & Jay

~X~

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