Salaam Namaste, Camden Town, food review

Salaam Namaste

Salaam Namaste - Credit: Archant

When you’re sick of turkey, this Parkway restaurant makes a strong case for a curry, says Bridget Galton.

There’s always a moment over the Christmas feasting when I find myself longing for a curry.

Day upon day of meat, gravy, potatoes and veg leaves me hankering for the aromatic heat and simplicity of a bowl of rice and daal.

Salaam Namaste in Bloomsbury and its sister restaurant Namaste Kitchen in Parkway, Camden Town have consistently garnered plaudits at the Asian and Curry Awards for their modern Indian cooking, served in cleanly designed contemporary surroundings.

Chef patron Sabbir Karim also commendably explores regional cuisines from India to educate those who usually opt for the Anglicised tropes of a Balti or Tikka Masala.

Following on from the success of Rajasthani and Gujurat menus earlier this year, comes the turn of Goa, a coastal tourist haven south of Mumbai whose status as a former Portuguese colony is reflected in the local dishes.

Fishing and spice plantations are also big local industries so it’s no surprise that seared hot and sour scallops, softshell crabs with roasted coconut, and fresh sea bass feature on the menu.

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My sea bass (£6.50) came with a recheado sauce, a tangy blend of vinegar, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and other spices that partnered the meaty fish brilliantly.

My friend, who doesn’t eat fish, selected an aromatic chicken starter from the a la carte menu that delivered on flavour and gentle heat.

The Goan mains were all slow-cooked affairs, including pot roasted konkan duck with star anise and onion chutney.

I opted for a beef xacuti (£12.95), a rich gravy of melting soft meat braised with coconut and spices. My friend enjoyed the Portuguese-inspired lamb sorpotel (£11.95) cooked in vinegar and flavoured with cloves, cumin and black pepper. Generous portions along with a plain rice and nan and a delicious daal left us feeling more stuffed than a flock of Christmas turkeys.

But I felt compelled to freshen my palate with scoops of lemon and mango sorbet.

You can order from the extensive grill or a la carte menu or watch out for future festival menus celebrating other regions. In the meantime, there are special Christmas menus for those who already gasping for a curry. They include dishes working in some of those Goan flavours such as turkey xacuti. Or try spicy crab cakes with mango salsa, plum flavoured goat curry and spiced salmon grilled in the tandoor.

Visit 68, Millman St 0207 4053697.