Saturday, 22 November 2014

Cocktails and Cuisine: Salaam Namaste, Bloomsbury

The Venue: Salaam Namaste, London

The Cuisine: Indian

Perfect For When You’re Feeling: Like you want a taste of India that isn’t necessarily your bog-standard korma or vindaloo - the food at Salaam Namaste pushes the boundaries of what you’ve come to expect from your normal Indian restaurant. There’s also a really scrummy cocktail list that offers refreshing drinking with your spice.

Location: Wandering through Bloomsbury, you’ll find this little place tucked away on Millman Street.

Menu Concept: While there are still the old curry favourites, the guys at Salaam Namaste are keen to bring the dishes of their country to the forefront. Cue a selection of interesting ingredients - Chukandari Venison and Mustard Quail in the starters, and a great addition of goat curry as a main, as well as regional specialities. The butter chicken is a favourite from Delhi, while the Lahori Tawa Lamb Chops are a Pakistani recipe.

Cocktail Contributions: There’s a firm and fair focus on classics like mojitos, cosmopolitans and bellinis in order to provide refreshment with your meal, as well as a few interesting curve balls like the Delhi Devil. There are also some divine sounding non-alcoholic drinks. Lal Quila is vanilla ice cream blended with pomegranate syrup, cranberry juice and scented with rose water, and we love the sound of the salted lassi.

What We Scoffed: The starters all look incredible, and we eschewed the usual onion bhaji in order to try the Mackerel Riechard from Goa and Manglorean Soft Shell Crab. The former was a delicious slice of perfectly cooked fish with a crispy skin, resting atop a rich tomato-spiced sauce, while the fried crab was coated in crisp golden breadcrumbs and full of succulent meat that married well with the sweet chilli sauce. For main course we decided to try the house special of Goan Style Sea-bass - this was more chunks of amazing, robust fish with a thick sauce of curry leaf, mustard seed and coconut - and the Lamb Shank ‘kaliyan’, the meat of which fell off the bone in tantalising pink strands at the mere sight of our forks. A scoop of coconut ice cream was just the right chilled treat to cleanse our palates.

What We Quaffed: We were intrigued by the Namaste Delight, which turned out to be a wonderfully fruit-packed concoction using fresh mango that was hard to stop drinking. The Delhi Devil was a burst of pomegranate flavour, with the little red gems of seeds muddled with mint, and refreshing ginger beer adding just enough fizz to keep the sweetness at bay. Both were obviously made with care and attention, and came with cool retro straws.

Next Time: The Parsi Style Star Anise Duck looked very tasty, as did the exotic sounding Chicken Hara Pyaz with pink fur potatoes. We’d also like to try the Calcutta Crush cocktail.

Atmosphere and Decor: It’s pretty stylish and contemporary inside, with clean lines, pale wood and some great neon art installations gracing the walls. That said, the music kept it nice and traditional.

Tell Me A Little More: Salaam Namaste is also a 2005 Bollywood musical romantic comedy film, and is a remake of the 1995 film Nine Months starring Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore.

What you’ll Instagram: Those great fruity cocktails - they look like they should be served in a beach in Hawaii. We’d also never had crab that was served deep fried whole - that deserved a picture!

What You’ll Tweet: Just had a great culinary trip around India - without the airfare! Visit for food that’s authentic, delicious and different.

This was a guest post from the lovely guys at Social and Cocktail.
Read more of their guest posts!

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