Near to Russell Square tube and a leisurely walk from Holborn, the Bloomsbury site of Salaam Namaste (which also has Primrose Hill and Camden Town locations) is a cosy restaurant, offering a mix of traditional Indian dishes and grills, as well as what they bill as ‘the new wave of exciting flavours and innovative ideas sweeping out of the sub-continent’. We are spoilt for choice and spend a fair few minutes browsing the extensive menu and sipping Indian red wine on the recommendation of our enthusiastic host; Soul Tree might not beat all the wines of the world but it’s fruity and tasty and matches the food well.
Chef-patron Sabbir Karim, has a good pedigree – named Chef of the Year in the Asian Curry Awards 2012 & Asian & oriental Innovative Chef Of The Year 2013 held at the prestigious London Grosvenor House, and finalist in the British Curry Awards 2012 and his menu shows his drive to offer interesting choices with the classics. We take advice from our waiter who is keen to explain and point out his favourites. We start with two types of poppadum, with the requisite chutneys and sauce, quickly followed by delicious paneer rolls, fat juicy tiger prawns in spicy piri piri sauce, and a yoghurt peanut crunchy chaat mix that was a standout surprise star! We follow with aromatic lamb which makes my mouth water even now, and an intriguing rabbit dish which is flavourful but perhaps not to everyone’s taste, coming on the bone in a soup of sauce, it’s tricky to eat for the meat you get. The dishes come with light and fluffy house pilau and a lemon infused rice which I will miss next time I get a takeaway. We end with gulab jamun (a type of milk based super sweet dough ball in sugar syrup) and ice cream which was a perfect finish.
The food here is good, tasty, hearty and well thought out, and the service is great. The restaurant itself is a little basic in its decor and has seen better days but cosy nonetheless. I’m not sure this restaurant would make my list of ‘must trys’ but if you’re looking for a good meal in the area at relatively reasonable prices for this part of central London, this is a safe bet for a satisfying evening.
Reviewed by Ana von Dienstag
Salaam Namaste, 68 Millman Street, Bloomsbury, Russell Square, London WC1N 3EF