Namaaste Kitchen is located a stone’s throw from Camden High Street on Parkway and serves modern Indian cuisine with flavours inspired by all corners of the subcontinent. In addition to the already diverse menu, owner Sabir Karim has launched a year long Regional Food Festival, showcasing specialities specific to a particular region every month. March welcomes the cuisine of Goa to Namaaste Kitchen.
To kick off our meal, we shared a medley of starters: spicy roast beef and tongue (a popular dish served at Goan celebrations) was an explosion of spice and texture on the palate, a surprisingly pleasant combination of rich, flavoursome meat intermingled with silky slivers of tongue. Mackerel Reichard (pan-seared mackerel in a spicy marinade of chilli, garlic and palm vinegar) reflects Goa’s fondness for seafood. While tasty, more attention could have been paid to removing all bones in the fillet – a little off-putting for fish haters and lovers alike. The highlight of the selection was Galina peri peri: wonderfully moist chicken, grilled on charcoal served with peri peri sauce (introduced to Goa by the Portuguese) and complimented nicely with a tangy mango salsa.
Seafood can also be found in the mains, such as Samarein Chi (Prawn) Kodi – a fresh prawn dish served with a sauce made from dried shrimp, tamarind and coconut. Individually, the prawns and the sauce were both delicious, but unfortunately they did not arrive together so it was difficult to judge what the dish would taste like as a whole.
Goan Mashali Caldin (Goan fish curry) was served in a contemporary style as a fish fillet (in this case, cod) with the sauce as a garnish. The cod fillet, despite not being particularly thick, did hold its own against the robust spices of mustard and fenugreek from the sauce. Carnivores can look forward to Lamb Xhacutti (lamb cooked with fresh coconut, peanuts, cumin and coriander), Gallina Cafrael (chicken cooked in a tandoor with masala of garlic, coriander, green chilli and mint) and Goan Green Chicken Curry. Both chicken dishes packed a punch in flavour, especially of coriander – not an easy feat to achieve once the herb has been cooked.
The one vegetarian choice on offer was homemade paneer with Portobello Mushroom Amo-tik, an interesting, bold dish with lovely smoky, meaty chunks of mushroom and cool paneer served with a hot and sour sauce. One of my favourite dishes of the evening, even though I am not a vegetarian! All mains were accompanied by naan and rice. Whilst the naans were hot and freshly made, they lacked the puffiness of a well-made leavened flatbread. In contrast, the rice was perfectly cooked and the coconut and curry leaf rice that accompanied the Gallina Cafrael was particularly delicious.
We finished the meal with a selection of desserts from the regular menu, one of which was Rasmalai – a traditional Indian sweet of milkcurd dumplings served with cardamom-spiced milk. Rasmalai is rarely found on menus in Indian restaurants it is dairy-based and has a short shelf life, so it is a bit of a treat when it is on offer.
Overall, we had an enjoyable meal at Namaaste Kitchen. The food was creative and portions were generous; the service was attentive and amiable. The residents of Camden and nearby Primrose Hill are lucky to have Namaaste Kitchen as one of their local neighbourhood haunts.
Namaaste Kitchen: 38/60
To book a table at Namaaste Kitchen, 64 Parkway, London, NW1 7AH, call 020 7485 5977 or visit their website.