My three hundred and sixty five days of being twenty three came around so fast, it felt like I had just blinked and I was already pending my twenty fourth. It only felt like I was only at Hutong celebrating turning twenty three only a month or two ago. How could it already be March? Well, time is a funny thing, it never waits around for you. Either you make the most of everyday or you lose out on another day to make your dreams and wishes a reality. Even at twenty four, i’m still learning the art of making the most of everyday, but there is no better way to push that vibe than on your birthday.
Every year my sister and I have a tradition to go out for dinner on my actual birthday, whatever day it may be. My extended period of celebrations always fits around this particular day because I think it’s important to spend my special day with my nearest and dearest. I wish my parents could join us in our tradition but with their work/life schedule it sometimes becomes impossible most years.
This year my sister chose to take me to Tamarind Mayfair, one of the first standing Indian restaurants in the world to be recognised and gained a Michelin star for their food. With a title as such, I had to try it out and there was no better time than my birthday.
The tables were elegantly dressed with white table cloths and each table had a beautiful set of rose red carnations. The lighting was dim with a lovely ambience as the restaurant was filled with light by the individual candles on each table.
Settling down for an early booking on a Thursday night, the restaurant was still quite quiet. We kicked things off with a round of cocktails and champagne to celebrate my birth. My sister ordered a Tropical Passion, a sweet, fresh passion fruit based cocktail with spiced rum, lime juice and mango puree.
I on the other hand stuck to a real favourite of mine, a glass of yellow label Veuve Clicquot champagne.
Nattering over a basket of popadoms and a range of chutneys whilst we awaited our starters to arrive. The restaurant started to fill up and the popularity of this well known restaurant started to show. After only being seated for 10-15 minutes, we had already experienced the warm hospitality of the waiters and staff members at the restaurant. No request is too small for them and are happy to go out of their way to ensure every diner has a wonderful experience in their presence.
When ordering our starters, we found it difficult to narrow it down to only a few we were actually going to order. All of them sounded so good, but we managed to get it down to a hotlist of three different dishes. The first starter we chose as Papdi Chaat which is made with chickpeas, wheat crisps, yoghurt, blueberries and tamarind chutney. Having grown up loving Papdi Chaat and it being a really simple but absolutely yummy treat, we had to order it. Verdict? It was delectable!
Tamarind have a large selection of kebabs, so it only felt right to order a portion to see what they were all about. We ordered a portion of the Ronaki Sheekh kebabs and much to our surprise we were brought out two individual servings, where eat plate had two large kebabs on. It was so great to see the restaurant serving such large portions for their dishes.
For our third and final starter, we decided on Pudhina Chops that were lamb cutlets with dried mint, tomato and coriander chutney. The meat was cooked to perfection – it literally melted in your mouth with every bite.
After our starters, it was time for another round of drinks. The team were great at helping my sister choose a sweet cocktail and they ended up ordering the Rose Petal martini for her, made with vodka, rose petals syrup, lychee juice and liqueur. I couldn’t help not trying a bit, especially with its gorgeous candy floss pink colour. If I were to head back to Tamarind soon, I would definitely go for the Rose Petal martini for sure.
I went for another of my classic favourites, an Espresso Martini. The first time it was made, I did have to send it back because it was overly bitter and no sweet aspect that normally is present in an Espresso Martini. However, much to my delight the second time around it was much better and exactly how it should have been made.
Since we were well hydrated with cocktails and had a reasonable gap between our starters and mains to take a break, we welcomed the delicious duo of curries to the table.
We ordered one meat dish and one vegetarian dish, the meat dish was Kadai Murgh – chicken thighs tossed with peppers, tomato, garlic and freshly ground spices to produce a delicious tomato based gravy. Perfect for dipping the garlic naan bread we ordered.
For the vegetarian dish, we ordered the Paneer Tikka Masala which was paneer (a soft Indian cheese) in a more lighter, creamy tomato based gravy, finished off with chillies and fenugreek leaves.
Both dishes were absolutely fantastic and were the perfect dishes to eat with just naan bread. We weren’t feeling any rice or biryani since we were already quite full from the starters, so we took it light with saucy curries and bread.
Even though with our food coma state, we still had to finish off with dessert but before I got around to looking at the dessert menu I was brought out a small birthday treat with a candle for me to blow out. A lovely touch, thanks to my sister and Tamarind. My favourite thing about my birthday is to blow out as many candles as possible, whilst making lots of wishes for the year to come.
To finish off our fantastic meal at Tamarind, we ordered a couple of desserts to share. Specifically, two of my favourite Indian desserts. Gulab Juman which is a traditional cardamom flavoured milk dumplings with hazelnut chantillie and a thick, creamy pistachio kulfi. I have to admit, my mum makes the best Gulab Juman and these came quite close to my mum’s which is often hard to find.
Overall, I was really impressed by the service, atmosphere, drinks selection and food at Tamarind. It definitely explains why it has retained its Michelin star over the years, especially with so much competition in the Mayfair area too. I would definitely recommend swinging by if you want a good, authentic Indian meal in London.
Until next time…