"A good meal, beautifully presented"Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
I was looking forward to visiting this critically-acclaimed grill and modern Indian restaurant in the heart of buzzing Camden (opposite The Earl of Camden) and Primrose Hill. Chef-Patron Sabbir Karim has won awards and received many positive reviews in the press.
On arrival, I was surprised that it appeared to look like many other modern Indian restaurants – the type you might find on your High Street. However, the décor was definitely modern. It extended a long way back and I liked the embedded pebble blue lights in the walls.
The staff were efficient and not overly friendly. Whilst there were a few couples, the clientele was dominated by large groups. Not surprisingly for a Friday night, the place was full.
Things got off to a good start – poppadums arrived swiftly with generous helpings of a smoky tomato, smooth lime and chilli and sweet chutney relishes. My companion’s Kobra beer was welcome although my glass of white wine had a more substantial flavour than I was expecting.
On the way to the loos, I passed by the large open grill and tandoor oven where the chefs were busily working on some appetising ribs.
So we turned our attention to the menus. The main menu is extensive – and as well as regional and modern dishes, there is a section where you can find your usual curry shop favourites. I was interested to see lots of seafood options – crab, scallops and lobsters as well as sea bream dishes. My memories of Pakistan were evoked by some of the dishes from there (e.g. Lahori Tawa Lamb Chops £14.50).
We were advised that some of the most popular dishes included the Jingha Malabar (prawns and coconut - £14.95), Rajasti Laal Maas (spicy lamb - £13.50) and lamb shank (£13.95).
My companion choose Tandoori Aatish-e-Jingha – jumbo prawns marinated in mustard and yoghurt on roasted pineapple (£7.50). He enjoyed these huge prawns which were delicately cooked and spiced. Having mis-read the menu he had more prawns for his main course - Char-grill Jingha (£14.95) - with ginger, yoghurt, paprika, ground spices, dried mango and ajwain seeds. He enjoyed this too although he was a little surprised not to be given a finger bowl to clean up.
Meanwhile, I focused on the menu which focused on the Punjab. They change these regularly. I started with chicken lollipops with tangy tomato chutney (£6.95) which comprised three pieces coated in a thick, dark batter and with a foil grip. My main course of Murgh Kali Mirch (a chicken dish with tomato, onion, garlic, ginger and black pepper) was full of flavour and had just the right amount of heat and was probably the best dish of the meal.
I’m afraid that I had difficulty discerning the pulao rice (£3.95) from my companion’s lemon rice. The keema nan (£3.50) was also a little disappointing. The coconut ice cream and lemon sorbet desserts were good.
So overall it was a good meal that was beautifully presented and if I were in the area again I might return.
KimT reviewed Namaaste Kitchen on Mon 16 Mar 2015