loti eats | tamarind
Tamarind was the first Indian restaurant in the UK to win a Michelin star and like many game-changing restaurants that have been around a little while, it’s recently undergone a refurbishment. Closed for 8 months in 2018, this has been a big project and the new Tamarind is almost unrecognisable from before, with a whole extra floor that has doubled its number of covers.
On the lower floor the previous restaurant has been completely redesigned with an open kitchen, long sofas, and a fairly neutral colour scheme – some pale pink is about as loud as it gets. It’s clean, modern, and stylish and has certainly given a new lease of life to the place. If you’re visiting when it’s still light out though, we suggest heading up to the brand new dining room on the upper floor – previously offices, this room benefits from lots of natural light and views over Curzon Street.
It’s not only the design that’s changed either; the previous chef Peter Joseph has now departed and Manav Tuli, formerly head chef at Chutney Mary is now in charge of the kitchen. To match the new bright, modern look the new menus also have a lighter touch relative to similar Indian restaurants, with a big section of small plates and street food-inspired snacks. We went for a fair few of these smaller dishes and then shared a main which we can definitely recommend as a tactic.
From the small plates we loved the light, crispy Rajasthani Churi Chaat and the pink peppercorn chicken tikka – cooked in the tandoor oven, the chicken was super soft and the peppercorns had a nice aromatic taste that took the dish up a notch. Lamb chops are a must-order in most Indian restaurants and they are unsurprisingly excellent here, with a bright green pistachio crust and spicy marinade sealing the deal. A dish of crispy fried lobster in a spicy chilli jam served in a lobster shell was perhaps a bit extravagant but delicious nonetheless – when in Mayfair….
If you’re going to get one main course, get the goat chop curry. It’s great to see goat meat being used and this was pretty special, the soft rich meat falling off the bones to be coated in the garam masala and coconut sauce. Get a side of rice or, if you’re feeling especially hungry still, the vegetable biryani with fresh fenugreek and cauliflower.
Tamarind 2.0 is a big success in our books. The new look is a winner, the food is better than ever, and if you’re looking for Indian food fine-dining style, this is still the place to come.
20 Queen St, Mayfair, London W1J 5PR