Having worked with a lot of English chefs over the years, I have always heard them say how great Indian food is in England. Before we left Sydney, we contacted one of R’s watch friends, Gush in London to get some recommendations from him. As we didn’t want to go far, he recommended Tamarind in Mayfair a short walk from our hotel. So on a drizzly evening we caught up with not only Gush but another watch collector, Kovacs. Watch collectors seem to not only have a thing for watches, but good food is another passion for them. When you look at some of the watch forums every second post seems to have food in it, especially a watch and food shot. This saves us a little time getting recommendations when we travel.LOL
Located in Mayfair, Tamarind is located in the basement of the building but is anything but basement like. A beautiful metal staircase curves down to a soothing room in colours of sand and gold, with dark wood highlights. At one side of the room sits the brilliantly lit, sparkly bar and across the room is a window with a view in to the kitchen. Taking centre stage in the window is the large Tandoor oven. The space is quite large but is in no way barn like, being broken with pillars and strategically placed huge vases of flowers. Lots of business and embassy types soon filled the room. You can always tell a restaurant with ethnic food is good when a lot of people from the specific ethnicity are dining there.
The dishes at Tamarind are derived from traditional Moghul cuisine from North West India, where breads, fish and meats are cooked in a traditional tandoor oven.
We ordered several dishes to share, well actually we left it to Gush to order, which was good thing as there were dishes we have never seen here in Australia.
First up Papdi Chaat, Spiced chickpeas, whole-wheat crisps, mint chutney and sweetened yoghurt topped with blueberries and tamarind chutney. Surprisingly very delicious, the blue berries make it look like a dessert but it was a great combination of flavours.
We also had a selection of items from the tandoor, lamb cutlet in tandoori spices, marinated chicken and Aloo Tikki (Potato cakes with a sago crust and a filling of spinach, garlic and dried fenugreek leaves; tamarind chutney).
Gosht Dum Biryani AKA Lamb Biryani. Topped with a pastry lid and served in a gorgeous copper kadai.
Along with the Biryani we had Murgh Mahkni(Chicken tikka in puréed fresh tomatoes flavoured with ginger, green chillies and crushed fenugreek leaves) and Kadai Subzi. Rice and breads were also on the table.
Of course we needed something to drink with our meal. We don’t really know a lot about matching wines to Indian foods and left it to Gush to choose. A bottle of Les Granieres de la Nerthe Chateuneuf du Pape 2009. I would not have thought to put a red wine up against the spices of an Indian meal, but it went really well.
In the end I personally thought the English Indian food was a little ahead of Australian Indian food. Will definitely be trying another Indian restaurant when we go next time.
20 Queen Street,
Mayfair, London W1J 5PR
Telephone: 020 7629 3561
Thanks for dropping by!