Exotic Sub-Oriental Excellence
The team at Namaaste Kitchen offer a dizzying array of succulent dishes, contemporary ingredients such as crab and scallops, a warm welcome – and naan bread to die for
Review by Martin Stickley
Before I start writing this review I need to tell you two things about myself. Firstly, in 1999 I came within a whisker of appearing on that most prestigious of TV game shows; Supermarket Sweep alongside that absolute giant of perma-tanned daytime student television Dale Winton. Secondly I absolutely adore Indian food. Ever since I was introduced to it properly by my childhood friend’s parents (they travelled a lot and loved international cuisine, a rarity even in late 1980s Britain) I’ve been hypnotised by the aromas and flavours of all those exotic dishes. So, ignoring the first rather boring fact about myself, I like to think that I was in good stead when I headed up to Camden to try out this Indian gem of North London.
Namaaste Kitchen is an award-winning contemporary restaurant serving Indian and Pakistani cuisine on Parkway between picturesque Primrose Hill and the buzzing vibrancy of Camden Town. Chef-patron Sabbir Karim and his team aim to mix traditional skill and culinary innovation to deliver a unique dining experience to everyone who walks through their doors.
First impressions are pretty strong; the interior of the restaurant is very modern with welcoming lighting and contemporary decor. Towards the back of the dining area sits the show-kitchen with robata grill where diners can even watch some of their food being prepared. One glance at the menu and of the food being carried to other diners and I was immediately convinced of their pedigree. Whilst they do have what you might call more “typical” Anglo-Indian dishes there is also a good selection of much more authentic and traditional recipes or even those using contemporary ingredients such as Dorset crab, scallops, lobster and sea bass. For starters my friend and I were treated to Peshwari Lamb Chops – lamb chops marinated with fresh ginger paste and raw papaya. The chops were tender and wonderfully flavoured with selected herbs and spices.
For my main I opted for the Mangalorean Korri Gassi, an utterly delectable chicken curry with the flavours of coconut, mustard seeds, curry leaves, roast chilli and tamarind. For those of you who can handle a medium to hot dish I would thoroughly recommend this excellent curry. My friend had the Char Grill Jhinga, king prawns marinated with yoghurt, paprika, ground spices, dried mango and ajwain seeds. The prawns were plump and juicy and the sauce merely complimented their taste without overwhelming their flavour. The absolute star of these two courses though was nothing other than naan bread. We chose two different types of bread with our meal; Missi Roti (with onion, ginger, green chilli, coriander and ajwain) and the date and ginger naan. Both are handmade on the premises but the latter of the two was a complete delight – sweet and beautifully spiced we wolfed it down with our respective curries.
The service throughout the meal was impeccable, with our waiter providing great advice on which wine to pair with our food. If wine isn’t your thing then Namaaste have a fantastic selection of cocktails to choose from – some classical, others house specialities. If you like something with a little kick, why not go for the delicious mango and chilli margarita featuring tequila, lime, Cointreau, chilli infused syrup and mango puree. After being fed such exquisite food we were both rather too full to sample the desserts but we did round the meal off with two excellent espresso martinis.
So what are you getting at Namaaste? Well, the menu is incredibly varied and original and rather good value too with starters and sundries between £5 and £8 and most main dishes between £14 and £20 with generous portions and high quality ingredients I think this is a great value. Food aside, the decor is as inviting and warm as the friendly and knowledgeable staff. Namaaste is definitely a restaurant I’ll be heading back to in the future.
Enquiries: Namaaste Kitchen, 64 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 / 0207 4855977 / www.namaastekitchen.co.uk/