"The kitchen’s attention to detail makes Tamarind a fine choice"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Tamarind sits very comfortably on the list of London’s most renowned fine dining Indian establishments, along with The Quilon, Benares, The Cinnamon Club and Rasoi. Its reputation has been sealed since 2001, when Alfred Prasad became the youngest Indian chef to earn a Michelin star at the age of 29, and its retained the accolade ever since, with the exception of a blip in 2009.
It’s not the most striking looking restaurant, in fact the basement dining room is a little dim, although we do notice the spiky detail on the staircase and similarly fierce-looking chairs, suitable for a mythological bacchanal.
In any case, glittery accoutrements do not maketh a good restaurant, and once the dishes start arriving what stands out the most is the kitchen’s attention to detail. The gilafi reshmi is a tasty dish of ground chicken grilled on skewers, the meat is spicy and has a nice crunch thanks to chopped raw green chillies, but the addition of cheese and serving atop spoonfuls of green masala sauce is a great touch. The aloo tikki, a popular North Indian street snack, are dainty croquettes made from perfectly mashed potato, filled with cooked spinach and garlic and topped with a sweet, slightly piquant tamarind sauce.
Tiger prawns are succulent and coated in a slightly peppery, tomato and onion-based gravy with plenty of heat, and the complex aroma of a masala daal is herby and intense, tasting of chillies, ginger and coriander.
The gucchi kofta are very special indeed, as these minced vegetable balls containing morels have a nutty, earthy taste, made more delicious by stuffing them with cheese and smothering in a sumptuously creamy sauce. Even a basket of doughy bread warm from the oven is a delight, with a sweet naan made with dates, coconut and sprinkled with poppy seeds, and a savoury bread stuffed with lightly spiced potato and coriander.
For dessert we try the tandoori ananas, grilled pineapple slices that are still soft and have a hint of spice, served with silky rose ice cream, and the classic gajja halva, the saccharine, spongy carrot pudding, topped with chopped pistachios and served with lime sorbet in place of ice cream at the request of a dairy-avoiding companion.
It isn't cheap by any means, as a three course meal for two is a splurge of around £120. Then again, coffee comes with dark chocolate-covered raisins and fresh mint leaves coated in milky white chocolate. It’s the little things that make Tamarind a fine choice.
Leila reviewed Tamarind on Wed 04 Jul 2012