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20 Queen Street
CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT UNTIL OCTOBER 2018 WHEN KARUNESH KHANNA AND MANAV TULI WILL TAKE UP POSITIONS AS EXECUTIVE CHEF AND HEAD CHEF RESPECTIVELY
Still glowing after all these years, Tamarind has both a Michelin star and gilt-pillared dining room, all the better to seduce tandoor fans looking for an upmarket London take on the cuisine of north-west India. The kitchen “never fails to deliver”, and you can taste the quality in starters of lamb cutlets with dried mint, tomato and coriander chutney or papdi chaat, sparky with blueberries and tamarind. After that, we suggest marinated monkfish kebabs served with pickled golden beets or Malabar prawns rich with sautéed onions, chilli, fenugreek seeds and coconut. On the side are gorgeous breads, slow-cooked dhals and unusual touches such as a chickpea dish with Assam tea, onions and whole spices. Pre/post-theatre menus offer decent value for a Michelin-starred restaurant and, perhaps more importantly, a fabulously fragrant romp around the kitchen’s simpler dishes. Staff “really go the extra mile” and it’s all done with an instinctive sense of occasion.
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
20 Queen Street
Green Park Tube Station 339m
Bond Street Tube Station 822m
Curzon Mayfair Cinema 90m
The Dorchester Hotel 376m
Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm 5.30-11pm (Sun -10.15pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
I have eaten here several times and the food always impresses, as does the service. Our attendant on this occasion was Robin, who went the extra mile to make us feel welcome and at home. Having eaten at all the UK Michelin star Indian restaurants, this ranks in my top two.
Food + drink: 4
Once again at lunchtime in a restaurant with a deservedly top-class reputation we were surprised by the low turn-out, which happily meant for us an unlimited choice of table and a chance to converse with the mostly very professional staff. We greatly enjoyed the tasting menu when we last dined here in August, but we decided that as it was still precisely the same this time, we should choose from the à la carte, and with the expert help of the sommelier, Philip, we were able to select a suitable bottle to follow the very reasonably priced Bollinger we had as our aperitif and which went perfectly with the spicy potato ball canapés. We started with an acceptably generous dish of delicate scallops perfectly balanced with a spicy tomato sauce and accompanied by mixed peppercorns and topped with roasted peppers. We thought about having one or other of the lamb dishes and the suggestion by the helpful staff was that sharing a couple of mains would allow full appreciation of the difference in the styles of cooking. We gratefully accepted the advice, which proved to be quite justified, as well as the recommended garlic naan, which turned out to be absolutely super but perhaps tipped the volume scales over the top. Luckily our table was big enough for four people as the signature slow-cooked lamb shank with turmeric, yoghurt and a delicious gamut of spices plus the lamb biryani which came with a crust of pastry which was artfully drawn back to reveal the meat and rice underneath and some very good raita needed a reasonable amount of space. The portions were more than sufficient, even when shared, but the quality of both dishes made it extremely difficult to leave anything. We managed, though, to find enough room for the house special dessert of pistachio kulfi, which was notable for representing the very essence of pistachio. Our coffee was made even more enjoyable by the terrific mint leaf and white chocolate crisps served with it. As we noted last time,Tamarind prides itself on the authenticity of its cooking, and this undoubtedly enhances the pleasure of dining here.
When you go to an Indian restaurant and it is full of diners from the sub-continent you can rest assured that the food is authentic. If there is a Mayfair gloss in terms of the setting and service, so much the better. It took a little while to become accustomed to the downstairs room, but the bright, intelligent service soon helped to settle us. The Taste of Tamarind menu was full of good things, beginning with very good poppadums and three chutneys, red fruit and mango, date and fig and tomato and onion seed, followed up by spinach tikki with red fruit sauce, and then a starter of channa chaat with delightful spicy chick peas, tamarind sauce, gram flour, fresh coriander, raw onion, mint and chilli and some very welcome and refreshing yoghurt. The smashed tomato and onion seed sauce with the super scallops seemed to have a sour touch at first but it made an excellent match and was backed up well with smoked peppers. The delicious tandoor-grilled chicken breast was served with a vegetable tikki with crispy gram flour coating and a tomato sauce with fenugreek which had a real kick on the tip the tongue but it all went down a treat, and was followed by a very interesting tamarind and sensational date sorbet dish as palate cleanser. Generous lamb chops were served with a rogan josh sauce, saffron rice, spiced spinach, cucumber yoghurt and raita, a special creamy dal makhni, touches of coriander and cumin and very good naan bread. A beautiful dish, intelligently conceived and executed to show off the full range of flavours. The dessert came very close to equalling the main dish with red fruit jam dobs which harmonised exceedingly well with the carrot fudge cake, as did the essence of pistachio in the kulfi. A further bonus was provided by the petits fours of fresh mint leaf in white chocolate and chocolate orange zest, and to complete the pleasurable experience the chef came out to chat about the variety of dishes on the menu and his vision for the future of this first-class venue. This is definitely one to return to.
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