20 Queen Street, Mayfair, London W1J 5PR www.tamarindrestaurant.com
We tasted a selection of this season’s offerings. The pan-fried cakes of kingfish and potato with ginger and spring onions served topped with gooseberry chutney did it for me and were my favourite starter, quite springy with ginger. I do something similar with tuna, as does my mother. Also excellent was the salad of spice roasted duck breast with kumquats, grilled courgette, rocket leaves and avocado with orange and chaat masala dressing. Well, the great bit was the duck, excellently-spiced and cooked well to have some pink bite in the centre. I didn’t taste the chaat masala dressing but it was a nice idea. More forgettable was the black-eyed beans with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, chard leaves and pomegranate in a lime and toasted cumin dressing. It was fresh, and is probably good if you’re on a health kick or don’t really do Indian.
Mains-wise, my best choice was the tender lamb cutlets marinated with garlic, raw papaya, paprika and fennel seeds served on mixed cress salad. Again, I think I missed the raw papaya but the overall effect was one of sanguinity which can occur when meat is mixed with fruit. The batons of paneer tossed with fresh fenugreek leaves, garlic, red chilli and tomato julienne were OK but I’d have liked some more flavour in the actual paneer. Least favourite – but best for my companions – was the chicken tikka with green peppers, red onion and tomato, finished with a sauce of puréed tomatoes flavoured with ginger and honey. Just tasted like it was catering to a high-street Indian Tandoori palate although why not chuck in what people like, I guess.
Try the yellow lentils flavoured with garlic, cumin and fresh coriander – totally yummy dahl and excellent just slopped on a baby mound of rice. Also great were the date, coconut & poppy seed naan, almost like a pudding of pancake and again, good with the dahl. Finishing with what is described as carrot fudge with melon seeds, raisins, silver leaf and pistachio, a very traditional Indian dish, worked well – a warming little pickle on the tongue. A good deal, I think, if you choose right.
Three courses £19.50 / with wine £29.50 (for maximum of 6 people)
Tasting Menu £28.00 (wine not included)