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Tamarind


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I sometimes struggle for choice on Sunday dining in the Capital, perhaps because I'm a bit fussy, or it may be that the first choice places that I want to try are not open.

This last weekend, unable to decide I clicked on Toptable to see if there was any tempting offers on there.

Bingo, among adverts for Gordon Ramsay restaurants, Imodium (for diarrhoea relief),and Louise Redknap flashing her ample curves, advertising Triumph titty supports, I stumble on a 50% off deal at Tamarind.

Now these deals are to get bums on seats on a deserted Mayfair Sunday and indeed it seems to work, at least it did last sunday.

Now I have been meaning to dine here for some considerable time, however as is perhaps normal I don't always fancy an Indian, but this just seemed right at the time.

Right next door to Gordon Ramsays Murano restaurant (or should that be Angela Hartnett?)this basement restaurant was quite busy, unlike the eerily quiet street above.

Its a little dark down below and I was concerned that my photos would not look good, as good chap that I am I don't use flash.

We were seated right next to a window looking into the kitchen, watching the chefs working, and literally a metre or so away from two charcoal tandoors where one of the chefs was making naan bread in one and huge skewers of various meat and fish in tother.

Looking at the menu proper, some of the reviews from Fay Maschler, Gordon Ramsay, etc, etc, make comforting reading, assuring us that we are in safe hands. From a choice of six to eight courses, listing, Curries, Kebabs, and Vegetarian choices it all seems quite traditional.

Our "Sunday Lunch Menu" reads like its a mountain of food and I am wondering whether or not I will manage to still have space to eat some of the huge Tandoori Prawns that have caught my eye emerging from said vessel.

GRILLED COURGETTE, AUBERGINE and PEPPERS with CHARD leaf and BABY PLUM TOMATOES; toasted cumin and lemon dressing.

KINGFISH, baby SQUID and PRAWNS in a gram flour, paprika and curry leaf batter; served on a juliennes of pickled Carrot, Cucumber and beetroot.

TANDOOR GRILLED BONELESS LAMB with raw PAPAYA, yogurt, chilli and ginger; served on mint yogurt.

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Admittedly not the most visually appealing food, it was certainly zingy and delicately spiced.

Next up were the mains described as, SPICED GROUND LAMB with GREEN PEAS, Onion, Tomato and spices; finished with Spring Onions.

CHICKEN TIKKA tossed with GREEN and RED PEPPERS and pureed Tomatoes flavoured with green Chilli and dried fenugreek leaves.

Served With,

SEASONAL VEGETABLES in an ONION, TOMATO, chilli and cumin sauce,

BROCCOLI, and baby POTATOES tossed with cumin and freshly ground spices.

YELLOW LENTILS with Ginger, chilli and fresh CORIANDER.

STEAMED Basmati RICE.

BUTTER NAAN.

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Sorry about this photo folks, I wanted to take one of the individual dishes, however the camera kept shutting down because the battery was flat. Perhaps it conveys what I mentioned upthread that there really is quite a lot of food for your money and in honesty we were both full, but just managed to polish it off. There was no chance to sample the Tandoori Prawns that I lusted after, enough was enough.

In my humble opinion what makes a good Indian restaurant stand out from the crowd is the different identity of each dish. The precision in the cooking. No masking the true flavours with samey sauces and mind numbingly hot spicing. Each and every dish had a bit of excitement to it. The Naan bread was the best I have eaten.

Finally the dessert,

Warm GULAB JULUN with PISTACHIO KULFI.

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A fitting finish to the meal, a syrupy creamy concoction of the correct proportion.

Before I forget, I need to mention the wine list which in my opinion is very user unfriendly as there is only one bottle below £30. I think this is a mistake that needs addressing. There is wine by the glass and a couple of beers for £5 (inc service) for 330ml. I did not notice any wine bottles on any tables from memory which must tell its own story.

We have only been to one other Michelin starred place in the UK which was Quilon, and yes we did enjoy it. I am looking forward to dining at Rasoi (who,s cookbook I have), Benares, and Amaya in the coming months to see how they compare.

We really enjoyed this food and even though the ingredients are humble in origin the same chefs cook them for you. The pricing on the carte is gentle too given its location and rents for Mayfair, and if you are into cars, as I am, take a walk around the corner to Jack Barclay,s showroom and lust over the million pound plus Bugatti Veyron before returning to the real world, comforted by the fact that your Volkswagon is from the same group.

Multi course Sunday lunch 50% offer £32 for 2

2 glasses of Viognier £11.50

1 Cobra beer £4.50.

As much Thames water as you can drink FOC.

Service charge £6

Total £54

_

For anywhere a real bargain, for Mayfair an absolute steal

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Not as good as it was, but at the deal price it's worth it. Old skool indian, innit? Can't go too far wrong but you're better off at Cinnamon Kitchen for modern cooking

Shame about the pictures, I mean the fact that you took any at all. Leave that to bloggers, it's not fair on chef to take crap pictures of his dishes, gives the wrong impression of his skill, food photographers get well paid for a reason.

S

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Not as good as it was, but at the deal price it's worth it. Old skool indian, innit? Can't go too far wrong but you're better off at Cinnamon Kitchen for modern cooking

Shame about the pictures, I mean the fact that you took any at all. Leave that to bloggers, it's not fair on chef to take crap pictures of his dishes, gives the wrong impression of his skill, food photographers get well paid for a reason.

S

You are of course entitled to your opinion as this is an open forum, however the photographs convey a reasonably accurate view of the food. I am fairly certain people would rather see them than not.

I did actually speak to the chef on the day, he offered me a tour of the kichen, and jokingly offered me a days work.

I will speak to him later to get his opinion on them.

In the mean time let me stress that I do not get paid or get any freebie wine or food, I pay my way and enjoy sharing with this community, perhaps you could do the same. What about a review from yourself. I know it takes time, and sometimes a lot of it but I,m sure there are lots of people out there who enjoy reading other peoples accounts, as they may never get the chance to enjoy them themselves.

In the meantime I shall continue sharing.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Interesting report David - you should have used flash I have never found a restaurant yet that has complained. I always make sure only take pics of the food and not the other diners. As for professional food photographers these days they are redundant - with good digital camera it is easy to get great food photos.

For Indian why don't you try Anokaa in Salibury - see my report on - Lunching in Bournemouth and Salisbury - John Harters post.

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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don't really agree, I think we can tell the difference between a poor photo and poor food. besides, dishes never look like how food photographers make them look. keep the photos coming david!

Thanks for that vote of confidence :smile: Its hard to please all the people all the time and as you well know it takes an awful lot of time, effort, and a considerable amount of money to post a review.

Just a shame more people don't contribute.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Interesting report David - you should have used flash I have never found a restaurant yet that has complained. I always make sure only take pics of the food and not the other diners. As for professional food photographers these days they are redundant - with good digital camera it is easy to get great food photos.

For Indian why don't you try Anokaa in Salibury - see my report on - Lunching in Bournemouth and Salisbury - John Harters post.

Thanks for the advice Pam, and the recommend. :smile:

My wife does not like me taking photographs but I feel that they convey such a lot more than my limited vocab, so she puts up with it.

Note for the diary.

MUST TRY HARDER

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Another voice of thanks for the review and the pictures. My excuse is I don't get out much, but I have managed 1.5 reviews for my 3 proper meals out this year :-) Personally I feel uncomfortable taking pictures at all in restaurants, but I'm glad that doesn't apply to everyone.

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Another voice of thanks for the review and the pictures. My excuse is I don't get out much, but I have managed 1.5 reviews for my 3 proper meals out this year :-) Personally I feel uncomfortable taking pictures at all in restaurants, but I'm glad that doesn't apply to everyone.

Thank you kind Sir :smile:

Happy Eating :biggrin:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Pam

Let's hope that we're not in the same restaurant when you're using flash. I'd probably have to kill you - or at least make some blunt northern comment to which I'd hope you would take offence. And then both our enjoyments would have been spoilt. :biggrin:

J

John Hartley

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John, when we review restaurants we do it anonymously so no special attention is paid to us. If anyone asks why we are taking photos, as occasionally happens, I just tell them our daughters are treating us and they want to see what the food is like. Most normal people are happy with that explanation it even seems to add to their enjoyment. But I suppose sometime we will come across some miserable northern git that moans! :biggrin:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

My link

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Pam

It's not the photography that makes me a moaning northern git but the flashes while I'm trying to eat.

An irritating distraction to me enjoying my meal - of course most diners will be too polite to say anything, I am not one of them and will often make an issue of it. The worst occasion was when the restaurant was having some publicity photos taken - we told the staff (bluntly) either they told the photographer to F-off or we'd F-off. No tips that night.

John

John Hartley

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Ah well, at least if I get a northern git swearing at me in a restaurant I will know I have at last met an e gullet member in the flesh. I am sure we will come to a compromise. There can't be more than one of you north of Watford can there?? We have a lot of northern friends and they are all charming. :biggrin:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

My link

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There can't be more than one of you north of Watford can there??

Well, there's Mrs Harters to whom, in the "getting irritated stakes", I am a pale runner-up.

We are northerners of the variety that regards Stoke-on-Trent as "down south". :laugh:

John Hartley

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The idea of using a camera flash in a restaurant seems so rude and intrusive I can't imagine anyone would actually do it!

I'd certainly complain both to the camera user and the establishment if it happened while I were dining.

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