Salaam Namaste offers a wide variety of dishes, a warm and private atmosphere and quick service. This is a place you’ll want to revisit and won’t quickly forget. Bring friends.
This ‘Modern Indian’ restaurant sits a couple of blocks away from Russell Square on a quiet street. It specialises in authentic Indian and Pakistani cuisine (with grilled, traditional dishes and regional specialties) and exceptional hospitality.
The restaurant is warm and inviting and so too is the reception. The manager promptly introduces us to our server for the evening and both seem genuinely friendly and excited to welcome us.
Head chef, Sabbir Karim has won several awards for his work here, and we quickly learn why when we receive our starters for the evening: Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Ratan, an intensely-flavoured sampling of charred, spiced lamb.
These were followed by our mains of Tandoori Chicken – served with coriander chutney – and Kori Ghasi – a smooth, mildly spiced chicken curry with coriander seeds, red chilli and coconut milk. There is a surprising variety of flavours to enjoy in each dish. If you typically shy away from spice, don’t be afraid to try them; though both are moderately spiced, the flavour and heat are exceptionally balanced.
We complete the evening with two traditional desserts: Almond Kulfi (ice cream) and Gulab Jamun, a sweet, creamy desert akin in taste to a light sticky toffee pudding. Both new favourites and a great accompaniment to the meal.
Speaking to the table next to us, we learn that we aren’t the only ones thinking that Salaam Namaste has a well-earned reputation. Previously locals, and frequent visitors to the restaurant, the young couple sat here now travel for at least an hour to re-acquaint themselves with their favourite dishes (especially, the pistachio chicken korma).
According to our server, most of the people here tonight are well-known customers, with some having graduated to being good friends. I have a strong suspicion I’ll be joining their ranks sometime soon.
Words by Simon Day