By contributor Claire Zakiewicz – a healthy eating enthusiast and keen marathon runner.
As the vegetarian and healthy food reviewer for Food I Fancy I went to Namaaste Kitchen, a contemporary Indian restaurant in Camden to find out what it has to offer vegetarians who prefer fresh and healthy food.
Generally Indian cuisine is a good choice for vegetarians with a variety of aromatic flavours and spices to choose from. It also tends to be fresh and healthy, although I’ve yet to walk out of an Indian restaurant having eaten a sensible amount! Although Namaaste Kitchen specialises in the lighter dishes from across the subcontinent, their dishes are surprisingly rich and filling. They also have an extensive gluten free menu and organic wine to choose from.
I had the pleasure of sampling the summer menu with the wonderful food-obsessed Natasha, editor of Food I Fancy who had recently reviewed Namaaste Kitchen’s sister restaurant, Salaam Namaste. We started the meal with delicious cocktails made with fresh ingredients and went on to a Rubber Duck, Fair Trade and organic Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.
Now, this might be a little dippy but when I go to an Indian restaurant I always look forward to seeing what their Papadoms & Chutneys are like, for me it’s an insight into the chef’s attention to detail. The papadoms are less oily than usual and with a selection of spicy and non-spicy. I have a thing for coconut chutney, which they don’t have at Namaaste Kitchen, but their chutney selection is excellent nevertheless. I absolutely loved the Mango & Pineapple and the Tomato chutneys. The Coriander, Mint & Green Chilli chutney was a little bitter but also good and fresh. Be careful not to over indulge as the rest of the meal was really worth keeping space for!
The Tandoori Portobello Mushroom is small in size but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so delicious, rich and filling. The mushrooms are marinated with figs, cashew nuts, raisins, green chilli and homemade cheese. It has to be tasted to be believed and is possibly the best mushroom dish I’ve ever had.
I picked the vegetarian option from their Summer Menu, Grilled Aubergine in picklening spices served with Missi-Roti. The aubergine has a lovely woody taste from the grill and is fairly spicy. I also ordered a yoghurt Raita to take the edge of the spice. The missi-roti is a delicious buttery, spicy bread and I also tried their Dates & Ginger Naan, which I highly recommend.
For sides I ordered their fragrant, peppery and delicious Sag Paneer and their Dhall Makhani, a fantastic creamy lentil dish. I also had their Mushroom Rice, which again is buttery and delicious.
I made up for the lack of coconut chutney with a coconut ice-cream for desert. To have been in keeping with the standard of the rest of the meal it would have been homemade, but it was very tasty nevertheless.
In all, there wasn’t a single dish that disappointed and many that I would be very happy to recommend. Just watch out if you’re looking to avoid butter and cream as there is a fair amount in many of the dishes.
The waiters were attentive and courteous and all the dishes were beautifully presented. I’d recommend the Namaaste Kitchen as a good special occasion dinner but also as a far better than average Indian take out. All in all a great place!
Food I Fancy dined as the guests of Namaaste Kitchen.
London NW1 7AH
Tel: 020 7485 5977