Salaam Namaste (London)

Salaam Namaste in the general Russell Square/Bloomsbury area, within walking distance of Chilli Cool and Noble Rot—and also the British Library and the Dickens Museum, for those whose lives are driven more by their brains than their bellies—would be one of the best Indian restaurants in most American cities. In London it occupies a middle ground between curry houses like Punjab and Ajanta and far more ambitious and fancy (and expensive) Michelin-bait places like Tamarind, Trishna, Quilon or the Cinnamon Club (yes, I know Cinnamon Club doesn’t actually have a Michelin star). Of the last mentioned set they’re closest in conception to Tamarind, presenting updated curry house fare along with putative regional fare. I organized a large group dinner here towards the end of our London sojourn. 

Given the size of our group, we were required to choose one of their group/banquet menus and I picked the £30.95 version. This comprised three starters, a choice of main dish, dal, veg, dessert, breads and rice. The starters included an onion bhaji and two kababs—all were better than decent. The mains were variable (ranging from quite good to not-so-good), the sides were very good, the breads likewise and the dessert was far better than I’d expected. On the whole, a pretty good meal. The fact that it’s sort of an unremarkable neighbourhood place in London speaks to the strength of the Indian food scene there.

For more detail on the food, please launch the slideshow below. Scroll down for quick comments on service, value etc.

While not everything was great, this was, on the whole, quite a good meal; and some things were very good indeed. As such, I would say that the set price of £30.95 is pretty good value. And I expect a meal composed from the regular menu would be at least as good. Service was attentive and affable. It’s not a place to go out of your way to eat at but if you’re in the vicinity it’s a good option (better for Indian food than Chilli Cool is for Sichuan food, probably). And you really should be in the vicinity: the Dickens Museum is worth a visit (it’s not very large) and the Foundling Museum is pretty close by as well. (There’s another branch in Camden Town, by the way, named Namaste Kitchen, which looks to be hipper.)

Next up: a high-end meal in Minneapolis. Another London meal next week and then we’ll almost be done with meals from that trip.


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