64, Parkway, Camden, Primrose Hill, London. NW1 7AH
020 7485 5977
Tuesday 14th August, 2012
Billed as a, 'Modern Indian Grill and Bar,' but infact, so much more than that. Namaaste Kitchen is a contemporary Indian restaurant, serving authentic regional Indian food from the sub-continent. It is an excitingly vibrant venue, beautifully decorated, with an exclusive theatre kitchen. Just two tables can be entertained, each table seating an intimate eight - apparently! The Tandoori Chef, who you can see below, is cooking the most exquisite, 'Peshwari Lamb Chops £10.95 - tender pieces of lamb chops marinated with fresh ginger paste, raw papaya and selected herbs and spices,' and the biggest fungi in London if not the world! 'Tandoori Portobello Mushroom £4.75 - marinated and filled with figs, cashew nuts, raisins, green chilli and homemade cheese in a curry leaf dressing.' Chef also expertly makes, 'Roomali Roti £2.25 - soft thin bread,' which means, 'handkerchief.' It is a dry bread with a fine texture and should be eaten straight from the hot plate.
'...exclusive theatre kitchen. Just two tables can be entertained...'
'Peshwari Lamb Chops £10.95 - tender pieces of lamb chops marinated with fresh ginger paste, raw papaya and selected herbs and spices.'
'Tandoori Portobello Mushroom £4.75 - marinated and filled with figs, cashew nuts, raisins, green chilli and homemade cheese in a curry leave dressing.'
We were seated at a circular table in the corner, which has become known as the, 'Fay Maschler.' Rumour has it, she lives in the area and requests this table when dining here. However, all the tables are lovely and as we enjoyed our evening, regular clients were welcomed like old friends and shown to their favourite seats, (which are cream leather, by-the-way, and extremely comfortable).
The menu contains a wonderful selection of individual dishes, so my advise is to do as we did, and take your time. While we carefully selected our starters, our waiter, who told us that he hails from Chittagong, poured red wine, (lovely and inexpensive Merlot/Tannat, Plaimont - France £16.50), from the excellent list, into stylishly large glasses. Pat was thrilled to hear that he came from the famous Bangladesh sea resort and chatted about tourist hotels and attractions.
We nibbled on the, 'Popadom Basket - plain and black pepper popadoms, and the Chutney Tray - podina, tomato and mango chutney,' which at £1.20 per person, represents excellent value for money, especially since the chunteys are made by the kitchen team.
Pat ordered one of his favourite seafood starters, 'Spicy Soft Shell Crab £5.96 - marinated in green pepper corn, lemon sauce, coated in homemade batter and semolina, deep-fried, served with spicy fig and prune sauce.' I am always surprised that you can eat literally every part of this ugly little creature, which Pat did with great enthusiasm! I decided on something that didn't look like it had just died, (not that I could become a vegetarian - well, perhaps, if I lived in India...), the, 'Coriander Lime Chicken Tikka £4.50 - corn-fed chicken served with green lentil salad and apple chutney (spicy blended roasted tomatoes and sesame seed sauce).' The three good chunks of chicken that arrived, had the most wonderful citrus perfume and I thoroughly enjoyed them all, only giving Pat a tiny morsel of a taste. Both our starters were served on dark grey slate with a small salad and chutney.
A third starter and a total suprise was brought to us, a generous serving of, 'Lamb Barra Kabab £5.50 - lamb cutlets marinated with kachri, ginger, black pepper and spices, slow cooked in the tandoor.' The lamb pieces had been beaten with a meat clever, just as you would do for a veal escalope thus making them so very tender, they hardly needed a knife to slice and melted in the mouth. The Chefs Garam Masala, which the waiter informed us, was roasted and ground in-house, was heavy with black pepper - delicious.
While we rested for a moment or two, we had a chance to soak up the atmosphere and see what our dinning companions were ordering. The delicious chops and mushroom, (photos above), were destined for the table opposite ours, where a young man and woman were clearly having a wonderful time. I know this, because, as the evening progressed they became louder and more animated, and I always take this as a sign of happy and contented customers.
'Chettinad Chicken from Tamil Nadu £12.95 - a robust and spicy dish cooked with coconut, served with Coconut Rice,' and, 'Rajasthan Laal Maas £12.95 - very spicy lamb with roasted red chillies from the land of Forts and Palaces served with Pullao Rice.'
Our mains were elegantly delivered to our table without the aid of a trolley. My choice, 'Chettinad Chicken from Tamil Nadu £12.95 - a robust and spicy dish cooked with coconut, served with Coconut Rice,' was wonderful. It was indeed spiced robustly with good chunks of chicken in a thick sauce and I particularly liked the crispy fried fresh curry leaves scattered on top. Pat, of course, went for the, 'Rajasthan Laal Maas £12.95 - very spicy lamb with roasted red chillies from the land of Forts and Palaces served with Pullao Rice,' which, according to him, 'hit the spot!' These were accompanied by, 'Stir-fry Okra £3.50 - with raw mango.' Okra is notoriously difficult to cook, many people avoid it, as they expect it to be ouzing sap, but this dish was dry without a, 'splat of sap,' in sight and was decorated with slivers of raw, fresh mango. Also served was a bowl of slow cooked and nicely garlicky, 'Dhall Panchratan £3.50 - a five lentil mix,' and a wonderfully light and flakey, 'Lachcha Paratha £1.95.' Although the, 'Missi Roti £2.25 - onion, ginger, green chilli, coriander and ajwain,' was very tempting!
Even though we both felt very full, I did spy, 'Tandoori Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet £4.50,' on the dessert menu. Our waiter kindly brought us two spoons, so that we could share, and as the photo below confirms, this dish was a delight to eat. The tender pineapple was nicely caramelised and the creamy coconut sorbet complimented it perfectly.
A lovely evening with wonderful food and gracious service. Highly recommended.
'Tandoori Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet £4.50,' and, '...a delight to eat.'
64, Parkway, Camden, Primrose Hill, London. NW1 7AH
020 7485 5977
Branch: Salaam Namaste, 68, Millman Street (off Guilford Street), London. WC1N 3EF
020 7405 3697