Life is too short to taste the same flavours day in day out, that’s why my trip to Namaste Village was such a delight.

The vegetarian and vegan Indian restaurant specialises in knocking the socks off hardened meat eaters and showing them that flavour has nothing to do with being a carnivore.

It opened its doors next door to the Kursaal on Southend seafront on November 2, after 15 days of hard work to get the venue ready, and it has been fully booked ever since.

I was welcomed into the vast restaurant by chef and one of the directors, Dalsukh Jetani and branch manager Ronish Sutariya.

Seated at one of the attractively laid tables the food odyssey began.

Echo: Indian feast - array of tasty dishesIndian feast - array of tasty dishes (Image: Newsquest staff)

First up was the unsuspecting powerhouse of flavour the Masala puri. With a beautiful crisp outer shell, they are supposed to be eaten in one go as soon as they hit the table before they have a chance to go soggy.

On biting it the masala puri burst into flavours of herby freshness and 18 different spices that were hard to pinpoint, but all worked beautifully together.

Echo: Flavour bomb - masala puri Flavour bomb - masala puri (Image: Newsquest staff)

Next up was the street food dish chilli gobi, crispy cauliflower enriched with Kashmiri chilli sauce, which packed a heat punch and were very moreish with a lovely glaze of sauce coating the batter of the cauliflower.

They should be re-named the ‘vegetarian converters’ in my opinion because I would defy anyone who would choose a meat version after trying these.

House speciality is the masala dosa which are made to order with chickpea flour and served with sauces to dip them into. Crisp and light, they are a great option for anyone who is has a gluten free diet.

The chicken Labbabdar was creamy and rich with an aromatic gravy of cashew nuts sauce with layers of ground spices and herbs.

Another dish which was not lacking from the absence of meat was the Mughlai lamb. The marinated vegan lamb is slow cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices to give it a texture and taste similar to meat.

Echo: Namaste Village - exceptional service and unbelievable flavoursNamaste Village - exceptional service and unbelievable flavours (Image: Newsquest staff)

Sides of vegan naan (the lightest I have tasted) and vegetable biryani rice and Gujarati Pulav saffron rice also added to the symphony of flavours.

When it comes to precision Dalsukh’s former career as a pharmacist comes into play when he is working on recipes.

He said: “I use my skills at experimenting when it comes to cooking. For instance, I spent two months and 50 experiments working on our Namaste Chilli Sauce to get it perfect and so it can be added to any dishes to add heat.”

Echo: Authentic - masala dosaAuthentic - masala dosa (Image: Newsquest staff)

At Namaste Village, the team hold dear the principle of “Seva” from Indian tradition - which signifies the selfless act of service.

Since 2018 the organisation has given away 19,000 meals to those in need with their ‘dosa on the wall’ project, something which they are going to be starting in Southend.

The family-run business has four sites and replaces the steak restaurant 300 Degrees in a prime spot on the seafront. It is in the old Minerva pub site, which was later Bourgee restaurant.

From Tuesday November 7 to Tuesday November 15, they will be offering customers 50 per cent off lunch and dinner.

On Sundays they will be serving an Indian buffet from Sunday November 12, which will land on the Diwali festival and will feature a special menu.

They are also preparing to launch cooking courses from next year, so everyone can all experience food in technicolour like the dishes served at Namaste Village.

For more details, visit