2024 European Food Crawl - London….Dinner at Tamarind Kitchen

It is common knowledge that the UK offers some of the BEST Indian cuisine outside of the Indian Subcontinent. On an unseasonably cold and wet London evening, the thought of having some spicy, hot, hearty Indian food to battle the elements seems like a most appealing and perfect idea. Tamarind Kitchen, the sister of the Michelin 1* Tamarind, is located inside of Soho and just a short leisurely walk from our hotel, hence our pick for dinner venue.

Totally famished, the result of missing lunch caused by our irresponsible AirBnB host’s disappearance and last minute cancellation of our accommodation and the follow up, hours long, frustrating communication with AirBnB customer support to fix the problem. For tonight’s dinner, we went flat out and ordered the following:

  • Crispy Sprouting Broccoli
  • Dungar Chicken Chops ( Tandoori Thigh Tikka )
  • Tandoori char-grilled Lamb Chops
  • Badami Murgh Korma ( Delicate sauce of Almond, Green Cardamom, Saffron )
  • Calcutta Bhuna Gosht
  • Kerala Prawn Curry ( Kadampuli, Coconut, Shallots, Malarbar spices )
  • Cucumber Kaita
  • Lemon Rice
  • Chili Garlic Naan
  • Mango Lassi

Most of the dishes’ flavor profiles were so exotic and delicious, they were simply heads and shoulders above the many uninspired and mediocre offerings we are accustomed to in Toronto. The mouth-watering coating and seasoning of the Tandooris in particular was simply amazing … .a totally new and wonderful taste experience for some of us.

Cannot wait for the 1* Trishna meal in a few days time!


We ate at Trishna in 2015. Lovely meal.

You’ll be hard pushed to find a Michelin starred South Asian restaurant, outside of in London. I can only think of the two star Opheem in Birmingham

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Maybe it’s just me? However, I noticed nowadays, in order to appease the western palate, most curry dishes were made on the ’ sweetish’ side?

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It’s not something I’ve generally noticed, Charles. It’s possible that’s the case with some dishes at the more Anglicised “curry houses” but I don’t tend to go to them very often.

My favourite place near home specialises in Mumbai street food but does have a wider menu. One dish is bharli vangi - aubergine cooked in a coconut and peanut sauce which has a savoury/sweet note to it as you’d expect from the ingredients. For the Mumbai dishes, they do generally cook them traditionally but do dial down the chilli a bit on occasions.


They also do the same for Chinese food in the UK.

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Gujarati food can be sweet (which I don’t like). Like even their dal. But are you saying this of Tamarind Kitchen, or of Indian places in Toronto?

Mostly in Toronto and noticed somewhere else as well.

The restaurant I mentioned upthread has been offering a changing tasting menu on a couple of nights each month, based on regional dishes. The owner’s wife is from Gujarat and he’d told me that she had input into that regional menu (in fact, she actually prepared the methi thepla flatbreads). I was surprised to find that the first two dishes, including a daal, were definitely sweetish.

At least there’s some cultural basis there. In Toronto, while there are some Gujarati places, the vast majority are either Punjabi or Bangladeshi (the latter tend to serve pan-Indian “greatest hits”), in which case the sugar is just a crowd-pleaser. My mother is Maharashtrian and she will put a bit of sugar in some dishes that involve goda masala (her eggplant, for example). Also in some tamarind preparations, to mellow the sourness.

It’s a tiny, but growing sector. Most UK “Indian” restaurants are owned by Bangladeshis and tend to be generic Anglicised “curry houses”. I often describe them as “any protein with any sauce” places that start with a base sauce to which more chilli might be applied. So, you might have a vindaloo that is offered as chicken, prawn, lamb or vegetable - rather than the usual pork in Goa. Or a rogan josh that has the same various proteins, rather than just the traditional lamb. The growing market is for restaurants owned by Indians (and, to
a lesser extent, Pakistanis) serving more traditional regional food. All four places that I go to with some regularity are like this - and, of course, all the better for it.

Been waiting for your comments, Charles. (More to come?) It’s great that you had such a good meal there and also I feel vindicating for feeling consistently disappointed in just about everything ‘Indian’ I’ve tried so far in Toronto.

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