The Tamil Prince


SquareMeal Review of The Tamil Prince

Until recently, there was a distinct lack of South Asian restaurants in Barnsbury. Thankfully, ex-Roti King chefs Prince Durairaj and Glen Leeson decided to do something about it. They found a pub on a quiet corner, formerly The Cuckoo, and crowned it The Tamil Prince. Not long after this coronation, we headed north to get a taste of the action.

Surrounded by moody blue-grey walls, the table we snagged offered a glimpse of the busy kitchen. Onion bhajis hit the table first, and each brittle bundle was plunged into cool mint yoghurt before being devoured. The chicken lollipops that came soon after, however, stole the show. These succulent sceptres, encased in a fiery, ruby red coating, were utterly addictive and only returned to the plate once the bones were bare. Pints of Helles soothed any lingering chilli (it is a pub, after all).

These lofty heights, however, would remain unsurpassed. An uttapam (think Indian okonomiyaki) fell a little flat, despite the aromatic pulled beef embedded in its dough. An excellent chickpea curry followed, but ran out about halfway through the planet-sized bhatura that accompanied it. Finally, the lamb chops were superb, their fragrant marinade having been expertly charred on the grill. But, as good as they were, £32 for half a rack’s worth felt a tad on the steep side. Things then slumped again with a forgettable kheer drink dessert.

The Tamil Prince has all the right ingredients, but a couple of tweaks are needed. Although friendly, the service felt a little random, with sides arriving long before the mains and hence getting cold. Similarly, the pricing was a little strange: aside from the costly lamb, a small portion of rice clocked in at £4.50. We will, however, be going back. Partly because these tweaks are only minor, partly because we can’t stop thinking about those chicken lollipops.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cosy, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Child friendly
Food Hygiene Rating


British pub meets local curry house? Ex-Roti King chef Prince Durairaj has joined forced with Glen Leeson of JKS (the restaurant group that also owns highly-acclaimed hotspots Hoppers, Gymkhana and Trishna), to launch The Tamil Prince, a restaurant that aligns the classic British pub with the food of Tamil Nadu in south India. Taking over what used to be The Cuckoo in Islington, Prince wanted to retain its legacy as a neighbourhood pub while celebrating the cuisine of his home state.  

Bringing to the menu a plethora of speciality dishes from his childhood, Prince has curated a crowd-pleasing list of small and large sharing plates. Kick off with something snacky such as okra fries, potato chaat, crab soup and chicken lollipops. Meanwhile, large plates include the likes of butter chicken masala, king prawn moilee, desi salad and channa bhatura, while sides are twofold: coconut rice and rotis. Simple.  

The dessert list includes a number of creations you might never have heard of before. Alongside a mango lassi, there’s falooda, a cooling dessert drink made with milk, and shrikhand, a traditional sweet made with strained yoghurt.

To drink, the pub-cum-restaurant has enlisted the help of Simone Pugi (Bar Termini) to create a cocktail menu with creations such as a Tamarind Margarita and Jaljeera, a popular north Indian drink made with coriander, mint and spices. While Indian beers and a selection from British breweries also feature on the menu.  

What's it like inside? Imagine all the hallmarks of a cosy British boozer, but with plenty of decorative flourishes that nod to the vibrant food and drink menu. Dishes are served on brass plates while old Indian tea glasses are the receptacle of choice for beverages.  


Are the vegetarian options?

Yes, there's good choice on the menu for vegetarians.

Helpful? 0

Do I need to book?

Booking is advised but there are seats at the bar reserved for walk-ins.

Helpful? 0

The Tamil Prince is featured in


115 Hemingford Road, Islington, London, N1 1BZ

07988 750721 07988 750721


Opening Times

All day
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-23:00
Wed 12:00-23:00
Thu 12:00-23:00
Fri 12:00-23:00
Sat 11:00-23:00
Sun 11:00-22:30


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07988 750721 07988 750721

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