Last week I was invited for dinner at Salaam Namaste in Bloomsbury. As with most reviews, I always try not to read up too much on the restaurant or its menu in advance, so it comes as a nice surprise. I knew that it was an Indian restaurant (one of my favourite cuisines) but that was about it. My friend Kelly joined me and we met at Russell Square station and walked for just under 10 minutes to the restaurant. It was a little bit in the ‘middle of nowhere’ down a side street and to be completely honest, it didn’t look to be anything particularly exciting or different from the outside. But we were still looking forward to seeing what food would be on offer.
We were dining fairly early (6.30pm) on a Thursday, but there were already a couple of tables occupied, and by the end of the evening it was pretty much full. As soon as we sat down and opened our menus, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be your ‘standard’ Indian meal – the dishes looked superb with some unusual flavour combinations.
It had been a particularly long day for both of us, so the drinks were ordered fairly swiftly – Kelly opted for a red wine and I went for a Cobra beer – one of my favourites to pair with a good curry.
To start with, we were brought an amuse bouche (beautifully presented) as well as some very tasty papadoms and chutneys.
It was nice to have a variety of different types of papadoms, a bit like being given a selection of different types of breads.
For starters, I ordered the Manglorean Soft Shell Crab and Kelly went for the Bombay Onion Bhaji. We were also brought Tandoori Portobello Mushrooms filled with figs, cashew nuts, curry leaf, raisins, green chilli, and home-made cheese.
All of these dishes were superb – my crab was polished off rather quickly, and I was a big fan of the portobello mushrooms. Neither of these dishes are things I would expect to be served at an Indian restaurant, so I was pleasantly surprised.
By this point we were admittedly rather full, but we still had the curry to come! Both Kelly and I are self-confessed korma lovers, much to the amusement of our friends. So I was really chuffed to find a korma with a bit of a difference on this menu – Pistachio Chicken Korma, cooked in a pistachio sauce – so I instantly went for this. Kelly thought she’d try a different dish to me, so she ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala.
Now curries are never going to be the prettiest things to photograph, so the above probably doesn’t do them justice. But they were seriously good. I’d never thought of adding pistachio to a korma, but it certainly worked. And I’ve been craving it ever since! Alongside it we ordered some Basmatic Rice, Mushroom Rice, as well as a Saag Aloo and an aubergine dish, and a couple of naans, one of which was a Date & Ginger flavour.
These were all superb and complemented the curry perfectly. I’ve never had a date and ginger naan before, but it was fantastic! We were so full we could barely make a dent in the sides unfortunately, but every mouthful was delicious.
We were offered desserts but we were just too full, although I did manage an Irish Coffee to end the evening. I must also add, the service was impeccable. We were having such a great time catching up and it was a lovely ambience, that we were the last people in there!
I really was incredibly impressed with Salaam Namaste. The restaurant, named after a famous Bollywood movie, was opened in 2005 by award-winning Chef-patron Sabbir Karim. Sabbir has worked as a purser with British Airways’ cabin crew for 20 years alongside his restaurant businesses. This has given him the opportunity to travel the world and try global cuisine, to which he incorporates into his Indian cooking. In 2010 he opened up a second restaurant in London, called Salaam Kitchen, located in Camden.
If you’re looking to go for an Indian meal with a difference, I’d highly recommend Salaam Namaste. I only wish it was nearer to where I live, because I’d be there all the time. But I’ll certainly be going out of my way to visit again.
If you’d like to find out more, you can visit their website here.
I was invited to review the restaurant by Salaam Namaste and ME:MO Interactive but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.