New Indian eatery serves up warm sophistication
Natasha Hotson enjoys posh nosh at new Indian restaurant in Camden
020 7485 5977
NAMAASTE Kitchen shows there is always room for a new restaurant on the block with this cracking new venture from the brains behind Bloomsbury favourite Salaam Namaste.
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Although the Parkway is sated with scofferies of all kinds, Namaaste Kitchen is the first to serve up posh Indian nosh, which like most luxury goods is something you don’t know you need until you’ve tried it.
And try it you must. So skip past the plastic tablecloths of inferior feeding holes and step inside number 64 to be confronted with a boldly designed interior featuring cream leather banquettes, modern pendant lights and walnut pillars.
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When I complimented the swanky set up - on arrival one wet Wednesday this January - the manager explained they had brought Mayfair to Camden. Not quite true, there’s a telly behind the cocktail bar. Still, the overall impression is one of warm sophistication.
The daring d�cor mirrors the cunningly imaginative menu, which runs the gamut of every trend going. Fusion, darling? We don’t call it that any more but there’s chocolate mousse if you fancy it. River Cottage rustic? Try the Indian hunter’s wild rabbit leg in aubergine compote. Rabbit is the new chicken don’t you know. As for pomegranate seeds, you’ll find them in the raita.
And that’s not all. The menu boasts a wide range of seafood dishes and grills from an open kitchen, starting at a sinfully cheap �7.50 for the tandoori chicken.
With such a large menu what can go wrong? Quite a lot according to Gordon’s furrowed forehead in Kitchen Nightmares. Fortunately, the accomplished chefs execute the mindboggling array of Indian and Pakistani dishes with aplomb.
After a warm welcome and some deliciously crisp poppadoms, accompanied by a trio of chutney - not quite enough bite on the mango one - our starters were served up on pieces of slate - a tad gimmicky for grub that didn’t need embellishment. They were crab deep-fried in semolina batter and jumbo king prawns marinated in English mustard.
Main courses were the bunny leg and a spicy lamb curry with roasted red chillies, the food of Rajasthan kings no less. Both dishes were served with rice - far more civilised than ordering it separately, a hideous trend which has reached its tight-fisted zenith in a pub in south London where chips are a side order to fish and mushy peas if you fork out an extra three quid.
Dessert wasn’t necessary but sheer greed compelled me to order the chocolate mousse. Whilst the vanilla ice-cream on the side and mango sauce were sublime, the mousse had the consistency of soup. I mentioned this to the manager - it won’t happen again - and this was the only blip in a fantastic feast.
To wash that lot down, the well-selected vino starts at a sensible �13.50.
And if you fancy a night in with a slow cooked lobster, you can order it to go from the even cheaper take out menu. Highly recommended.
– NATASHA HOTSON
Mains: from �7.50 to �18.95
Wines: from �13.50
Children welcome: Yes
Disabled access: Yes