Tamarind Kitchen – First Impressions

Tamarind Kitchen is an Indian restaurant in Soho. A few weeks ago, after dinner at The Duck and Rice, we came across Tamarind Kitchen on our way to Tottenham Court Road station. The restaurant looked really interesting from the outside so we stopped to look at the menu by the door. The menu peaked my interest, especially because it has a fair few dishes that Shiima normally enjoys. So I put Tamarind Kitchen in our list. But then I saw we already had Tamarind Mayfair, it’s older opulent Michelin-stared sister restaurant, on our list and this made me even more excited to dine at the restaurant.

We booked a table for late Monday evening as I was already going to be in Soho about then. The restaurant is just as appealing inside as it is from outside. The décor attempts to be relaxed, but it’s evident a lot of money and care was invested to create the rather beautiful and contemporary environment, which does have a touch of Indian inspiration. The host was a bit formal but the waiters were certainly friendlier. There was also a good range of diners, from very evident business meals to dates and large groups in casual celebrations.

What we ordered

The menu is split into appetisers, kababs, mains (which are all curries), and accompaniments, which also includes rice and bread. We only ordered Aloo tikki chaat from the appetisers. Shiima ordered trio of chicken kababs and I ordered trio of fish. For mains, Shiima ordered murgh masaledar and I ordered jaipuri gosht. She also ordered rice and plain naan and I added butter naan.

Review of the food

Appetiser

LondonsDiningCouple Tamarind Kitchen Review
Aloo Tikki Chaat

The aloo tikki chat was so good. As you might know, I don’t really do potatoes, but these potato cakes were just delicious. They didn’t even need the sweet and creamy yogurt and chutneys they were doused in, although those were delicious as well.

Kababs

The “trio of …” idea is very good. You get three good portions of uniquely spiced chicken or in the case of fish, three different fish each uniquely spiced. I highly recommend. Although in the case of the trio of chicken, the tandoor-grilled chicken completely stands out. It’s fantastic. Shiima didn’t really like the other two, and honestly neither did I … they lacked something. In other words, they didn’t taste of much.

My trio of fish kababs were all enjoyable, but there was a clear hierarchy. Tandoor grilled sea bass, then zaffrani salmon, and then sarson ki pollock. Neither was truly excellent either, just all well cooked and well spiced. Not much else to say.

Mains

First, I must say that the mains looked and smelt delicious. Both curries were rich and had a good kick. My jaipuri gosht, which is slow cooked boneless lamb with Rajasthani chillies, had more heat. The lamb just melts in my mouth and it is immersed in all the flavour and richness of the curry. I even had to enjoy some rice with the curry, and I usually don’t eat rice. It was incredible, and even more incredible with the freshly baked naans.

Shiima’s murgh masaledar curry is Chicken tikka simmered in smoked tomato and garlic sauce. The curry itself tasted just as incredible as mine, but also a tad better because I prefer chicken to lamb. And like my lamb, the melt in the mouth chicken was immersed with all the flavour and richness of the curry. Shiima says it’s because, like her mum, the chicken was cooked from scratch with the curry as opposed to how I cook my chicken curry – I grill the chicken first and then add it to the curry while the curry is cooking.

She loved the naan as well, and needles to say, she loved the rice lol.

Dessert!

Tamarind Kitchen, as opposed to other Indian restaurants we’ve been to, has a really good choice of desserts. All the desserts were enticing, but Shiima and I were going to share our desserts, so we went for the only two we both liked – chocolate bomb (primarily for me) and chocolate fondant (primarily for her).

The fondant was lovely as good fondants are, but Shiima wasn’t keen on the almond soil or the caramelised banana. I didn’t mind the almond soil though.

The bomb was presented fantastically. It’s chocolate mousse in a chocolate shell with two small shortcakes that are infused with strawberry and strawberry sorbet. As you might imagine when a chocolate shell is put in front of you at a restaurant, hot chocolate sauce is soon carefully poured over it to break it and reveal the chocolate mousse. The dessert was really good, and I enjoyed every element of the dish. Especially the strawberry sorbet, as I’ve never had a sorbet I enjoyed before.

Verdict

We really enjoyed our experience at Tamarind Kitchen. The food was mostly really good, and the service was very attentive. Plus, the restaurant is beautiful, which makes it ideal for dates – both romantic and casual. The restaurant is also moderately priced, especially compared to restaurant of its ilk. I recommend for dates, special occasions, large groups celebrations, and anyone that enjoys Indian cuisine.

Cuisine: Indian
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Shiima’s Star Dish: Aloo Tikki Chat
Amen’s Star Dish: Murgh Masaledar
Price: £35+ each (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tamarind Kitchen
http://tamarindkitchen.co.uk
167-169 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F8WR
Reserve a table at OpenTable,
or call 0207 387 4243

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