Date of Visit – 23.01.14 6pm

I decided to visit Salaam Namaste after reading about the wins it got – Chef of the Year in the Asian Curry Awards 2012 & Asian & oriental Innovative Chef Of The Year 2013. So i thought why not!

I decided to look on toptable for offers and saw a 3 course meal for £15.95.

Upon arrival i was rather concerned as it was totally empty. I was in 2 minds about trying to find another place, but my friend wasn’t fussed and we sat down. Its a small restaurant, with a contemporary style and decor, i found it a bit cold and clinical, I also don’t like restaurants that use large mirrors along walls to create a false sense of space and with the added fact that you can see yourself in the mirror while you look up.

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On to the food, I’ll try and keep this brief. Well, first drinks, I the mocktail list wasn’t the most imaginative or expansive, i went for a Pina Colada and my friend a mango lassi. Safe to say my drink was bad, i had to send it back 1st time around as there was zero sweetness, it was just tasteless coconut cream. Not a good start. when it cam back it was just topped up with pineapple juice. I didn’t drink much of it – at around 3 quid maybe i shouldn’t expected much. The mango lassi was average as well.

For starters we had a choice of 2 things – Bombay Onion Bhajee – Crisp fried onion cake with potatoes and mix vegetables, tamarind chutney or Cumin Chicken Tikka Corn fed chicken, charred in tandoor, green smith apple chutney. The chicken is what i went for – With it being corn fed it was tender, well cooked and well presented. The Onion Bhajee were large in portion size.

For the mains, I went for the Rajasthan Lal Maas which is a Very spicy lamb with roasted red chillies, from the land of Forts and Palaces. Maas actually means fish in Bengali so this confused me and my Bengali friend 🙂 My friend went for the Chicken Jalfrezi, Chicken chunks cooked with capsicum, tomatoes, green beans and baby corn in spicy sauce. The chicken option was not on the set menu, but the waiter said they would change the paneer for chicken.

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Now heres my main issue, the food was not good. There was no lack of heat from the green chillies. But thats all i could taste. There was no balance or even evidence of any other spice, taste or flavours. I couldn’t believe how below average it was. Now, I’m not the greatest cook in the world but my curries taste better. I could not identify any flavours, no hint of tomatoes, no sweetness, no spice just pure heat from the green chilies. Not an enjoyable experience – I was thinking how on earth did this place win an award? I did ask of the chef that won the award was cooked my meal.. he wasn’t in and normally cooks in their flagship restaurant Namaste Kitchen. I think this curry was on par with a average curry from a average brick lane restaurant. The positives where that it was served with Naan, two types of Rice & Tadka Dal.

For desert we had the choice of Vanilla OR Chocolate Ice Cream.

The good points of this meal was the value and presentation of the meals. The service was average as well, we had to catch the attention of the waiters when we wanted to order… despite being the only ones there! By 8pm it did pick up a little but there were around 5 or 6 tables of other dinners.

Would i come here again.. No. What did i learn? Don’t go to a restaurant because they won a Asian Curry Award.

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