Restaurant Review: Namaaste Kitchen
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Curry for a date?” And I’m sure your date, whether male or female, will be thinking the same (as was mine). You might want to find out if your date actually likes curry or not first – that really could be a deal-breaker. However, you could also be delivering a welcome surprise by taking someone to Namaaste Kitchen. I grew up near the Curry Mile in Birmingham, and I have a certain loyalty to it, so to refer to Naamaste Kitchen as a curry house feels a little treasonous. Rather, it is a smart, chic restaurant in Camden that happens to specialise in curries.
Namaaste Kitchen is an award-winning restaurant with a well-deserved reputation that’s so glowing you can see it from outer space. The chef has won plaudits three years running – this is a man on a mission to provide delicious and exciting food. The decor is Barbarella-esque and so light and airy that I thought we were having curry alfresco. The venue is perfectly situated in the centre of Camden, a stone’s throw from the Jazz Café and Regents Park. I took my date for dinner on a beautiful sunny London evening, with Camden buzzing like an election-night newsroom.
My starter was melt-in-the-mouth scallops, while my date had spicy soft-shell crab, which I was told was very moreish. My main course was Goan sea bass with dokha (semolina cake), which was so delicious I can still taste it now, while my date went for Mangalorean korri gassi, which I believe translates to chicken curry – though I thought calling it a mere chicken curry was a disservice that bordered on criminal. As with the other dishes, there was an incredible depth of flavour to the spices.
Everything about Namaaste Kitchen surprises you, and dessert didn’t let the side down. We ordered gajar ka halwa, which is carrot cake, but not as you know it – it’s a warm carrot mound with delicious coconut ice cream. Once you’ve tasted this, you won’t think of carrot cake in quite the same way again.
The waiters were as sharp as tacks and we were treated so well that I felt like an old and valued customer. The manager, Parves, was delightfully welcoming and remained politely distant during the meal. Two cocktails, one large beer, two starters, two mains, one side dish, one rice and one dessert set us back around £75; this felt like a bargain for the delicious offering we had just enjoyed.
Outcome: my date was not only very impressed with my wild-card cuisine selection but also bowled over by Namaaste Kitchen. People never forget how you make them feel, and I’d also say that people never forget a good meal; Namaaste Kitchen certainly delivered on both counts.