Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Restaurant Review: Namaaste Kitchen

Here's a restaurant review originally written for www.londonist.com. Follow Londonist on Twitter to keep up with their daily posts on all things London.

Namaaste Kitchen was launched onto Camden’s Parkway by the team behind Bloomsbury’s Salaam Namaste in the weeks before Christmas, though we’ll confess to it being the New Year before it properly hit the Londonist radar.

It may have been a soft launch, but a recent visit made one hell of an impression. Owner Sabir Karim presides over the sleek black venue accented by stylish light fittings and artwork, but dominated by the open kitchen. A Tandoor oven is accompanied by Sigri (cooking over coal) and Tawa (cooking on an iron plate) grills, and it’s these methods that churn out everything from tikka, chops and curries to naans, rotis and kebabs.

Dishes that we were lucky enough to be invited to try included succulent tiger prawns whose flavour was perfectly accentuated by the char of the grill; an Indian spiced chicken liver pate; a rich and aromatic chicken and pistachio korma; and some stand-out freshly baked date and ginger naan breads.

Richly spiced Gurda Keema Taka Tak, a ‘roadside’ Pakistani dish of chopped lamb and kidneys was another favourite, and a traditional yet unheard of one which we’d challenge you to find elsewhere in London. Peshawari lamb chops, meanwhile, could easily rival those much-acclaimed beasts at Whitechapel’s Tayyabs.

Dishes are presented with definite flair but no pretensions. It’s the sheer depth and intricacy of spicing which elevates Namaaste Kitchen above its neighbourhood Indian peers and into the realms of London’s dining elite.

Thankfully there’s nothing elite about the prices. £5 for starters and £12 for very generous sized mains are par for the course, with lower priced and speedily served set lunch menus also available, whilst a more extravagant 7 course tasting dinner is still a good value treat at under £40.

Atul Kochar, Vivek Singh and the rest had better watch out. There’s a new gourmet Indian in town, and Namaaste Kitchen is going to be big…

Namaaste Kitchen is at 64 Parkway, London, NW1 7AH. Visit the website for details and to see the menu.

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