I thought I had experienced Indian food in a variety of styles and locations, but I heard that Tamarind was special. Traditional Indian food may have a reputation for some that it’s too spicy, heavy in sauces, and tastes nearly the same everywhere. Recently I had the chance to dine with a friend at Tamarind of London and we were fortunate to be joined by Dario Puig, their Director of Catering. We discovered that Tamarind could offer all the complex flavors with fine dining, and the overall experience made us want to return for another great meal.
First, it’s easy to notice the attention to detail in the restaurant appearance, as the decor was casual but also classy.
Tamarind Of London Interior
The color scheme of the furniture, bar area, and main table areas were inviting and quite comfortable. This Indian restaurant seemed much brighter and more open than many due to the way the seating was spread into different rooms. There were even some intimate outside tables on the patio.
One very interesting visual feature of the restaurant is the open kitchen, which is viewed through clear glass. From here we could observe the cooks preparing food in the Tandoor oven, which is a giant clay pot heated to very high temperatures. The cooks were able to set food in and remove it with their hands, which was an entertaining display of craftsmanship on its own. But that only increased our appetites for the excellent food that we were about to try.
Tamarind Of London Drinks
We started off with wine and a cocktail. Our waiter and Dario recommended the Tower of London. It’s made with premium gin and an amazing mix of sweet and spice (cucumber, basil, lime). This was excellent an I highly recommend trying this crafted cocktail.
Tamarind Of London Food
Dario knew we would love to sample a variety of options, and our appetizer plate include the grilled prawns (firm and delicious), grilled potato cake, spinach and potato dumplings, and tandoori tikka (tasty grilled chicken). Our favorites were the shrimp and spinach dumplings, and this was a nice start to the many food options we were starting to experience.
After watching the cook bake the fresh naan in the tandoor, we had the choice of two varieties (butter, and garlic). Both were very good on their own, and of course helped serve as a dipping piece for the sauces in the next servings.
We tried a couple of vegetarian dishes: yellow lentils, and smoked eggplant. I think we all enjoyed them, but the lentils seemed have a more familiar mild taste. The eggplant was very good, and I think the spices (ginger, etc.) made a bold statement. I must admit that I tried the leftovers at home by mixing the two together, and it was wonderful.
For the other main dishes, we had coconut prawn curry, lamb curry, and chicken tikka masala. I think every sauce was so good that it was difficult to stop dipping the bread and scooping it up with rice. Of course their white rice was tasty with the proper texture too, as this cannot be overlooked since it’s an important part of this traditional combination. Our favorites were the chicken and shrimp. While the lamb was good too, it had a more heavy taste as one would expect. Lamb lovers should try it, because I’m not an expert in this dish and I think we simply liked the others more due to our preference for chicken and shrimp.
Tamarind Of London Dessert
We had a small amount of room for desert, and got to try a sample plate of the rice pudding, soft paneer dumplings and carrot pudding. Our favorite was the carrot pudding for the sweetness and texture. They also offer chocolate samosas, which Dario said are especially popular (another reason for us to return).
This was a very enjoyable dining experience. The food quality, service and attention to detail had us impressed and eager for more. The portion sizes were also ample, as the food is served family style and ideal for sharing. Bring your family and extended family, and enjoy!