Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
Namaaste Kitchen, 64 Parkway, Camden, London, NW1 7AH.
Meal for two with house wine: Â£63.84
Author: Chris Barker
Despite being named after a friendly greeting, Namaaste Kitchens has a pretty unwelcoming interior. Its cramped, noisy main dining area seems to have taken inspiration from the passenger area of a plane. It feels as though if you were to stretch your arms out you would demolish both of the tiny tables on either side of you.
Despite that, the food is pretty good. The restaurant is unusual for an Indian in that it specializes in grilled food, which is prepared on a sizzling griddle in front of hungry diners. Some customers can even get seats right in front of the grill where all the magic happens.
Sadly, the staffâs expertise in grilling does not extend to their taste in wine- the house bottle is cloudy, dull and served with added bits of cork in the glass. Charming.
Our starters are spicy soft shelled crab and spicy crab and cod cakes, which thankfully bear no resemblance to airline food (although the cod cake does look a bit like a hash brown). The crispy crunchy cake could feed half an army by itself, and had a satisfyingly strong, dark taste whilst the crab was tender and sweet but at over Â£8 a bit overpriced for something with about as much meat than a tofu burger.
One thing I didnât understand was the decision to serve the starters with a luminous yellow sauce (mustard? Paint?). It didnât add anything to the meal, except maybe color.
For main courses we had spicy rabbit curry and spicy fish, served with rice and garlic naan bread. These were both savory and excellent despite not fitting into the grilled specialties of the house. The rabbit was especially good, with the tangy tomato-based sauce going well with the spicy meat (served on the bone). With curries like this, Namaaste Kitchens could do perfectly fine as a conventional Indian restaurant without even needing the grill.
Dessert was the Indian classic mango kulfi (similar to ice cream), served on a white plate. It was perfectly good although hardly earth-shattering.
At Â£30-ish a head thereâs nothing wrong with the food at Namaaste Kitchen, and if you can squeeze your way into the tables you might enjoy a meal there. Just ask them not to put any of that glow-in-the-dark sauce on your food.