It's been a while since I've highlighted some yummy food on here, but today I have a good one for you: Indian and British fusion restaurant Salaam Namaste. Located in Bloomsbury, this eatery has recently updated their a la carte menu for the winter season and I was delighted to try a selection of their dishes, which mix East and West not only in flavours and ingredients, but also in presentation.
We started off our meal with poppadoms and three different chutneys; sweet mango, mint and tomato. A very nice touch here were the two different types of poppadoms, one plain and one seeded, which added a layer of depth to the flavours. Drinkswise, we of course had to go for a Lassi, I picked the traditional mango while my friend choose strawberry. They were delicious and super rich, and how fun are the jars our drinks came in?
Before we'd even started our meal we were treated to a a delicious vegetable bite; small enough to not ruin our appetite and big enough to be able to savour the wonderful flavours coming through which each bite. And once again, the presentation was absolutely on point.
For a starter, I chose the Sarson Macchi Tikka, which is a Scottish salmon marinated in a special blend of spices and ground mustard, chargrilled in a tandoor oven and served with a spicy tomato sauce. I'm going to be completely honest here and say that when I ordered this dish I didn't look much further than the word 'salmon' as that is my usual starter, and so when I actually tasted the food it wasn't what I was expecting. However, it was delicious. It didn't taste like salmon as I know it, instead the flavour was much more layered, the different spices coming through one after another and complimented well by the sauce. I also loved the salad made from root vegetables, which added a fresh crunch to the heavier fish.
My friend had Scallops Three Ways (coriander & lime, coastal coconut, and tomato & lime leaf) for a starter, which wins the gold star of the night for presentation alone. My photo really doesn't do it justice (the lighting makes it look more washed out than it was, it was far brighter and the colours really popped off the plate) but it was an utter beauty. And delicious to boot. My friend said that each of the scallops had a distinct flavour and she too commented on its beautiful presentation.
For a main I choose the Tandoori Rubiyani Duck, which is a Gressingham duck breast marinated in yoghurt, cheese and carefully selected spices, charred in a tandoor oven and served with roasted tiger prawn, tangy potatoes and cucumber salad. This one, unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of. It was a very generous piece of duck but it was compressed together and very strong in flavour, where I was expecting something a little more subtle and lighter. The salad and potatoes were nice though and I also had a Tandoori Roti on the side, as well as some delicious aubergines, and so I had my fair share of food.
My friend ordered the Lamb Shank ‘Kaliyan’, which is grass fed lamb shank simmered in rich aromatic sauce, served with baby potatoes, with Basmati rise on the side. Something that is particularly worth mentioning here is that while on the menu this was listed as a spicy dish, they were actually able to adjust this to a mild upon request, and we were informed this was possible for all dishes. So whether you like yours spicier or milder than listed, the restaurant is able to cook your order accordingly, which is brilliant. My friend also said that the lamb was succulent and fell off the bone, with a sauce that was not too overpowering and the right combination of flavours to compliment the meat.
While the restaurant offers a dessert menu too, we were pretty full after two courses and the poppadoms basket to fit in anything more, alas. The fusion of British and Indian flavours is certainly an interesting one (see the scallops, for example, as well as the gorgeous presentations) but as with any dining out experience if you order an unfamiliar dish, it will always be a gamble as people's tastes differ significantly, which I discovered. Perhaps a next time I'll play it a little bit more on the safe side by ordering dishes I already know and love, but there will definitely be a next time.
Salaam Namaste is located on 68 Millman Street, Bloomsbury, Russell Square, London WC1N 3EF.