The first Indian restaurant in London to receive a Michelin star, Tamarind reopened in December following an eight-month rebuild with two new executive chefs at the helm. Karunesh Khanna (Michelin-starred head chef of Amaya in Belgravia for 13 years) and Manav Tuli (former head chef at Chutney Mary) have joined forces to create an exquisite selection of classic and refined dishes in the new-look restaurant.
Designed by David D’Almada and his team at Sagrada, whose previous work includes Coya, The Arts Club and Le Petite Maison, the light, modern space is understated with neutral shades punctuated with pops of muted mint, teal and buttery oranges. It has a comfortable homely feel with luxurious finishes, and the dining room is next to the open sigree grill on one side and the tandoor clay oven in an open kitchen on the other.
Khanna and Tuli’s launch menu is a contemporary take on authentic Indian fare. With an extensive menu of sharing plates, you can opt for the tasting menu (there is a vegetarian version) made up of eight dishes, or pick for yourself from the mouthwatering selection of fish, meat and vegetarian small plates. We started with a refreshing papaya, mango and cucumber salad quickly followed by a deliciously moreish crispy lotus root chaat with homemade chutneys and sprinkled with jewels of pomegranate. The cigar-shaped beetroot tikki – a fig and date stuffed beetroot kebab roll – were so smooth and tasty Brummell‘s companion even compared these to a kind of gourmet savoury Kinder Bueno: easy to eat, delicious and satisfying – we didn’t want it to end. In fact, we felt that way about most of the food arriving at our table. From the perfectly cooked asparagus with tomato chutney to the delectable and tender fenugreek-infused monkfish tail and chargrilled lamb chops with pistachio crumb, everything was delicate, yet complex – the sort of thing you strive (but fail) to recreate at home. When our waiter ceremoniously delivered a filo pastry-topped Chettinad chicken biryani to the table, carefully breaking away the pastry to reveal the steaming rice and chicken within, we were expecting big things from the flavour. It didn’t disappoint. Slow-cooked to tender perfection, it was a fitting crescendo for the symphony of dishes that had delighted us all evening. The dessert selection is just as generous. Tempted by the baked coconut rice with cinnamon and lime, and a carrot cardamom soufflé, we opted instead for the guava and raspberry sorbet and pledged to come back again for the dishes we couldn’t quite fit in.
Tasting menu from £55 per person, or three courses, £150 for two with wine.
Arrive on an empty stomach, because you will want to polish off every last morsel. The food is immaculate, the service is exemplary and the space is luxurious yet understated.