I always take it too far when I have curry and devour at least 5 poppodoms, a whole Peshawari naan and some bhajis for good measure (as well as a lamb saga and a brinjal bhaji of course). I think my local Curry Paradise in Brixton now has my order on speed dial and that suits me fine. The combination soothes and comforts and often acts as the perfect end to my weekend filling me up enough to send me into a deep sleep ready to take on the dreaded Monday morning. On my visit to Namaaste in Camden I was challenged to approach curries in a different way i.e with less glutton. This restaurant or Indian Bar as it calls itself, brings together Indian and Pakistani dishes including plenty of seafood, grilled meats and daals and so lends itself towards lighter dining. It’s also quite posh. Cocktails, a good selection of wine, shiny stools at the bar, amuse bouches and beautifully presented food make it an occasion restaurant rather than the kind of place you’d just pop into for a curry on the way home. There’s definately room for both types in my life. We started with an amuse bouche of Panni Puri, a small shot glass of tamarind water topped with a puff of dough similar in texture to a poppodum and filled with spicy potato. You pour the sour water into the puff and scoff the little morsal all in one. It’s both tasty and fun. Then came corinader lime chicken tikka from the Summer menu which was so pretty and each chunk of chicken was moist, floral and spiked with delicious lime and chilli. It was the better of the two starters as a portion of scallops with mango & tomato salsa was nice but the scallops were small, a bit sloppy and dominated by the accompanying salsa. Goan style sea bass in coconut, mustard and curry leaf was ordered on recommendation from the friendly and attentive manager. It was good but not exactly what it said on the tin with the predominant flavour being tomato. The fish was cooked beautifully though and what tasted like a square of coconut polenta was delicious and refreshingly different. Better was the Rajasthan Laal Maas lamb which was both rich and spicy and every morsel of meat melted in the mouth. The dish had a lovely heat and so went particularly well with some light pomegranate raita and the moorish but slightly oily date and ginger naan. For all of my ‘lighter option’ chat, we still finished with pudding(s) of Soft Milk-curd dumplings which were fragrant but had a very odd texture and cheesecake which was huge but creamy and topped generously with Summer berries. Despite the flaws in some of the dishes, the dinner was a great success. They could do with creating a bit of an atmosphere in the restaurant so that it doesn’t come off stuffy, but the staff were so friendly and accomdating that that didn’t matter too much. I’d happily head back with friends for dinner.
I was a guest at Namaaste Kitchen.