The background: This new addition to Soho’s burgeoning Indian dining scene is the casual counterpart to Tamarind of Mayfair, one of the first Indian restaurants to be awarded a Michelin star. This modern take on home-style comfort food packs just as much punch as its predecessor. It loosely follows the format of starters followed by mains, but it’s best enjoyed as a selection of dishes and accompaniments shared between diners, in-keeping with the traditional Indian convivial family kitchen concept.
The space: While Mayfair is bright and palatial, this Soho outpost is dark and intimate. The buzzy ground floor is best for lively conversations and groups, while further seating downstairs provides more seclusion from the hustle and bustle in close proximity to the cocktail bar.
The bar: Tamarind Kitchen’s cocktails weave in South Asian ingredients with a light touch, from mango and red chilli matched with jasmine-infused vodka to delicate and warming notes of cumin or saffron. When it comes to refreshments for the meal ask for the day’s selection of homemade lassi, or for something alcoholic there’s an impressive selection of wines.
What to eat: Fish and seafood is as prominent on the menu as the meat dishes, with the subtly spiced Aleppy fish curry a particular standout. The dish not to miss, however, is the Hyderabadi Gosht, slow-cooked lamb shank so tender it can be pulled from the bone using just a spoon. The rich and creamy sauce is best mopped up with a flakey, minty pudina paratha or the surprisingly light and fluffy paneer naan. While classic Indian desserts such as gulab jamun are done well, it’s the more European-influenced options that are the showstoppers here. For optimal drama go for the chocolate bomb, a delicious combination of textures from mousse, strawberry shortcake and ice cream, encased within in an Instagram-ready chocolate shell that’s melted on serving with a decadent chocolate sauce.
The bill: A reasonable £70-80 should cover a three-course dinner for two, including wine.
In summary: While Tamarind Kitchen may not be reinventing the wheel, the expertise from its sister restaurant shines through, making it a good value and reliable alternative for more relaxed occasions.
167-169 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8WR; tamarindkitchen.co.uk