Having been the first Indian restaurant in the UK to be awarded a Michelin Star, Tamarind Mayfair could certainly have put their feet up and rested on their laurels. Instead they felt it was time for a major refurbishment, so have spent the past eight months doing the place up. The transformation sees two incredible new chefs at the helm, Executive Group Head Chef, Karunesh Khanna and Tamarind Mayfair Head Chef, Manav Tuli, whose combined experience includes industry heavyweights Amaya and Chutney Mary.
We nearly missed it, the unassuming reception area looking more like an apartment concierge desk than upmarket Indian restaurant, but we were told the minimalism was more down to the fact they had only opened three weeks ago. So new we could practically smell the paint drying, the space has been completely transformed with dining space across two floors. Upstairs is best saved for lunch or a slightly quieter evening, whilst downstairs is where the magic happens with open kitchens and tandoor ovens.
The new colour palette is decidedly feminine and oh so pretty. Mimicking the lightness of the food, a combination of pastels and neutrals adorn everything from the menus to the leather booths. With slick yet friendly service, we’re encouraged to delve into the cocktail menu, where we’d highly recommend the ghee-washed old fashioned with fig marmalade and black walnut bitters. Be warned, it slips down a treat.
Food-wise the menu is pretty extensive and it was a struggle to narrow it down to a feast for two. Split into small plates, grill, stir fry’s and curries, you’ll want a bit of everything.
We started with a pretty plate of Rajasthani Churi Chaat, a light street food snack spiked with various chutneys, zig zagged with cooling yoghurt and dotted with pomegranate – it’s one for the ‘gram.
Veggies are well looked after here, with one of our favourite dishes being a nutty yoghurt and corn kebab we tried from the grill section. The tangy little patties were unlike anything we’d tried before – rich and creamy, worth ordering if you’re looking to try something a bit different. Also of note was the pink peppercorn chicken tikka, which is cooked in the tandoor – quite frankly the absolute best way to cook chicken if you ask us. Succulent, tender and totally delish. Meanwhile cooked on charcoal, which imparted a gorgeous smoky flavour, was the coconut sea bass – served on the dreamiest of plates. All of these dishes come as a trio of chunks.
The tomato based Keralan prawn curry we tried took us back to eating on the beach, with waves lapping at our ankles. Scoop it all up with a side of buttery garlic naan. One of the more substantial dishes we tried was the chicken biryani, a baked rice pot topped with pastry which you smash through to find the delicious innards. Like a chicken pot pie on steroids.
The two desserts we tried were unashamedly decadent, chocolate concoctions that incorporated Indian spices. The final nail in the coffin, we found ourselves well and truly in a food coma at this point, meaning an Uber back to East London was on the cards.
Yes the majority of the food here is definitely lighter than we’ve experienced in similar establishments, and feels all the more elegant and modern for it.
We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at the newly revamped Tamarind Mayfair, and will be back at the soonest opportunity.