In Camden you are inundated with a plethora of cuisines from all over the world. Be it Italian, Thai or Mexican, Camden steps up to the plate (quite literally). This means it can be quite tricky to pick a particular place to satiate your appetite. If it is say, Indian, the possibilities are endless. And it’s always quite difficult choosing an Indian restaurant as you can’t tell what the place is like simply by the menu or their appearance. This is also true of Namaaste Kitchen.
On first looks, it could easily be mistaken for a drinking hole as the bar is positioned right at the front of establishment, and it is also the first element you see from the street. Once you venture in and realise it is an eatery, the welcome is so warm and enthusiastic, it makes you want to stay and find out what it is really like.
Sitting down at your table and being doted on unconditionally by your waiter, you immediately warm to the place. Although quite compact inside, with long white leather banquettes to the sides, its cosy nature makes you feel special.
All the tasty action is at the back: a special type of grill where Namaaste Kitchen’s best offerings are cooked right in front of you, and the chef is not fazed by people watching him in action – in fact he converses happily and explains what he is doing.
There is a choice of menus; one the normal à la carte, the other is a special seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings for an incredibly reasonable £44.95. The tasting menu is filled with all their strongest dishes and specialities. Starting with the scallops, which are cooked to perfection and lightly spiced, indicates to you straight away that you have stumbled upon a restaurant which is really quite exceptional. The tang of the mango and tomato salsa complements the juiciness of the scallop.
Next are the Tandoori Portobello Mushroom, Peshwari Lamb Chops and Corriander Lime Chicken Tikka, which again are little nuggets of pure joy. The food is presented as if it is a top restaurant and tastes as such.
With each delightful course you taste, the sommelier explains the wine in detail and why it has been matched with the food. He does it in terms which anyone can understand and his enthusiasm for the wines makes you equally excited and interested simultaneously. It is a full on dining experience, without pretence.
What is unique about Namaaste is the way in which they make their food. A lot of Indian places will concentrate on the spice of a dish, rather than the subtle nuances which make you think about your food on many levels. With their dishes, although there is a good level of spice present, it is not overpowering and doesnt compromise the flavour, making the meal a bit of a palate discovery.
For the mains there are three on offer; Goan Style Sea bass, Pistachio Chicken Korma and Rajasthan Laal Maas, which is a very spicy lamb dish. For the fish, a cluster of sea bass is presented beautifully and drenched in a rich, spicy coconut sauce. All the flavours combine wonderfully with the squeeze of lime enlivening the fish to its full potential.
The final parts of the menu involve a palate cleanser, a small selection of British cheeses and a light and fluffy passionfruit cheesecake with a deep biscuit base.
If you want top restaurant quality food for a fraction of the price, then head to Namaaste Kitchen immediately, because when people start to realise how amazing this place is, you will be struggling to get a table.