"If I lived nearby, the KT would probably become one of my favourites..."Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
Just over five minutes walk from Kennington tube station and right on the main Kennington Road (opposite Edinburgh House) it’s mighty convenient to get to – especially, as it turns out, for politicians.
One mid-week evening I met my friend there after work. The interior décor is a pleasant surprise and a departure from your average curry house. The area at the front is bright – as a result of the large front windows. The mid area is sort of relaxed with softer lighting and the rear area (which can be partitioned off for private parties accommodating up to 12 people) has night club inspired soft purple lighting. It’s really pleasant. The staff are welcoming and efficient at getting you to a table – and it’s already comfortably busy without being full at 730pm.
While I contemplate the extensive menu I order a diet Coke (£3.50) but am persuaded by the waiter to try the chef’s special Saffron Gin and Tonic (£5.50). As the name suggests it has a yellowish tinge but is surprisingly pleasant – like an ordinary Gin and Tonic but less dry. I admit that as I browse the menu items and chef’s specials (both of which include plenty of vegetarian options – the paneer shashlick - £8.95 looks good and so does the adhari mushroom with ginger and sweetcorn - £7.95) I am torn between trying a classic curry house dish – they are all here – to see how they compare and one of the many rather different items that look tempting.
Luckily my friend has the same conundrum so we decide to order a selection and go half and half. We munch through some papadums while we wait for our food – the mango and tamarind chutney is a triumph. For a starter, he has a KT Platter (£6.95) which is good value as it allows us to taste a samosa (crispy slightly chewy outer and light, dry contents), an onion bhaji, a sheek kebab (great seasoning on this meaty lamb classic – a sort of delayed reaction) and the most delightful chunk of the tenderest tandoori chicken in a delightful sauce. I opt for one of my favourites – Bhuna Prawn Puri (£5.95) which arrives – like all the food – beautifully presented on modern white china. For a moment, the food presentation makes me think of upmarket West End restaurants rather than local curry shop. It’s really good.
For my main course I had a white fish kofta Fisherman’s stew (£10.95). The sauce was pleasant but not particularly special and the fish was a bit spongy. On the other hand my friend’s choice of the Chef’s Special makonwallah chicken (butter chicken - £10.95) was incredible, really special. The pilau rice (£2.75) was delicately fragrant although it was a relatively small portion. The chana masala (£3.95) was OK but the hot coconut stuffed nan was incredible.
Usually when I eat Indian food I don’t have any space for dessert, but on this occasion my friend had his heart set on some vanilla fudge (£4.50) which was a generous portion but too sweet for my taste. On the other hand the waiter’s suggestion of some chocolate and cardamom mousse (£4.95) was a good one – it was fluffy and delicious.
There were plenty of staff – who were attentive but not overbearing and the place filled up as the evening wore on. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal although the large party of well spoken young people who arrived at about nine was really noisy – apparently they were young politicians and the KT is a regular haunt for them. I do hope their presence doesn’t cause as much disturbance to regular diners.
This was nearly a nine out of ten – but I did feel that at £73.35 (albeit for three courses, but we only had the two gin and tonics and a beer) it was a little expensive. Whilst the décor, service, staff, food presentation and menu selection were really, really good there were one or two dishes whose blandness let down the otherwise fantastic food. If I lived nearby, the KT would probably become one of my favourites. Apparently there is also a branch out in Dulwich.
KimT reviewed Kennington Tandoori on Mon 17 May 2010