Salaam Namaste – Sabbir Karim’s OTHER Award Winning Indian.
I seem to have started a habit of visiting ‘family members’. And, just as Casa Malevo is the older brother of Zoilo, Salaam Namaste is the second, slightly more traditional family member of Namaaste Kitchen in Camden, somewhere I visited recently and loved. I was happily tweeting about how fabulous it was to May when the charming owner of both restaurants asked us if we’d like to try the new menu at Salaam Namaste. That is the sort of offer I love;)
Salaam Namaste is what a polite Estate Agent might describe as compact, though the tables are not unduly close together or uncomfortable. I’m guessing you might need to book though at busy times. In a quiet street in Bloomsbury, there are a few tables outside which must be lovely when the weather is a little more clement. Inside, simple décor with white table linen and comfortable chairs makes this a pleasant place to dine. Unlike Namaaste Kitchen, Salaam Namaste focuses on traditional Indian dishes. My understanding from Sabbir Karim is that the recently launched new menu is a little more adventurous than its predecessor, but in general, you can expect richer dishes than you’ll find at Namaaste Kitchen. And, the menu itself has a whole section of traditional dishes to satisfy the regular clientele who have grown to know and love certain dishes.
We started with poppadums and a trio of home-made chutneys just as we had done at Namaaste Kitchen. The chutneys were a little different but equally fresh and delicious and a good start to the meal. Then, a range of dishes to start the meal. Tandoori Portobello Mushrooms were delicious, filled with a hot-sweet mixture of figs, nuts, raisin, spices and home-made cheese.
Mustard quail was perhaps my favourite of the trio with the mustard and honey marinade bringing out the sweetness of the flesh. And Jingha Peri Peri was superb – I love the juicy king prawns that are used for this dish and were used for the slightly drier tandoor prawns we had at Namaaste Kitchen.
Of the main courses, the Sea Food Moilee was my personal favourite with a mixture of king prawn, scallops, squid, mussels and sea bass in a rich coconut and mustard sauce. I could have enjoyed all of it but we WERE sharing!
We went on to enjoy Moti Mahal Butter Chicken from Delhi – really mouthwatering but something so rich I could only eat a little of the fabulous sauce.
And, Rajasthan Lamb Maas, a spicy hot lamb dish with meltingly tender, lean meat.
My favourite of the side dishes was the stir fry okra with raw mango, although the dhal makhani was a close runner, delicately spiced and beautifully presented, nice enough to eat as a main course with some naan bread.
I’m afraid I really enjoyed the tandoori pineapple with coconut ice-cream at Namaaste Kitchen, and picked the same thing again. Just as good, this version came with a garnish of strawberry.
May chose Kulfi ice-cream which looked delicious and obviously was, as it vanished before I got to try. Or perhaps I was just too busy eating the tandoori pineapple?
For me, Salaam Namaste is just that little closer to home and I rather like the mix of contemporary and traditional Indian food. So, I’d recommend trying it…and then, of course, you should check out Namaaste Kitchen. Just because you’ll need to compare. I doubt you’ll regret either.
68, Millman St (off Guilford Street)
London, WC1N 3EF