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Tamarind (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Tamarind in Mayfair, London

20 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5PR
Cuisine: Indian Average Price: £65.00
Tel: 020 7629 3561 | Email to Tamarind | Transport: Green Park | Write review

Tamarind Review

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Tamarind is featured in these Guides:

Best for: top-notch Indian cooking; wine and dish pairing; a guaranteed blown-away Michelin star experience in Mayfair.

Great: at holding your hand.

I’ve never trusted guides.

In Thailand, my guide informed me that ‘actually the Grand Palace is closed for a Thai holiday’ and instead whisked me off on his tuk-tuk to an ‘emporium of wonders’. The emporium realised itself to be a knock-off designer bag factory and the only wonderment was that so many of my guide’s friends worked there.

My guide in New Zealand informed me that the country has three national anthems. They don’t, they have two.

There have been other occasions that have left me to conclude that guides are either out to scam you, or they’re so ill-informed on the subject matter they’re teaching, that you’re likely to find yourself red-faced and wrong at a pub quiz some years down the line.

And yet, delightfully, my faith in guides has been restored, and oddly it is a Mayfair Indian restaurant that is responsible. This Michelin starred, basement level eatery in London’s most luxuriant of postcodes is so much more than a restaurant. It’s an outstanding experience at its least and, if you want it to be, a heady learning experience at its best.

Toby, Tamarind’s sommelier, told my dining companion (my grateful mother) and me that so long as we were happy to concede, he would guide us through a number of wines to match our dinner courses. I had to trust a stranger to correctly lead me in something I have little experience in or of. Images of Fendi and Gucci purses danced in my mind, to the tune of New Zealand’s national anthems.

I need not have worried; Tamarind is more like a parent’s guidance. You trust them because you know they have your best interests at heart, they inherently know more than you, and you don’t feel like they’re judging you. An unusual feeling for a Michelin starred restaurant.

In the spirit of trust and guidance, we were treated to courses selected by the youngest Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star, Alfred Prasad. Starters saw an aromatic plate of three components – a tender lamb cutlet, a jumbo tiger prawn that tasted of the tandoor, and a flaky piece of kingfish – all lightly spiced and accompanied by Toby’s selection of a sparkling Spanish wine of the cava variety, Savia Viva, and a New Zealand Pinot Gris.

On many occasions, my mum has claimed she could easily live as a vegetarian. A few contemplative mouthfuls into her lamb cutlet and this claim was retracted. The cooking at Tamarind is not what most of us understand to be Indian cuisine. The tastes are highly sophisticated, not in the least bit heavy or greasy, and I can honestly say I could happily live off the spiced chickpeas without ever again consuming steak.

Breaking between starters and mains, and in between talk of work, weddings and Wyvale centers, I allowed the relaxed restaurant atmosphere to wash over me. Again, Tamarind disproves typical Indian restaurant stereotypes. There is no neon-lighting to be winced at, instead a tone of cream and gold soothes whilst bright red and orange flowers add a slightly playful edge. The décor perfectly mirrors the Tamarind attitude; sophisticated, not stuffy; cheerful and bright staff.

Many main dishes then followed. Among the lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka, and sides of black lentils, seasonal vegetables, fluffy rice and well-buttered naan, the pan-fried sea bass stole the colourful and fragrant show. On a bed of fine beans and raw mango, the perfectly crisp skin contrasted with the soft flesh, the mix of textures giving way to the punchy but not overwhelming sauce of tomato with mustard, curry leaves and coconut. Fighting to finish the banquet, my ever expanding stomach was lubricated by the red wine selected by Toby (an easy-to-drink St Emilion, medium bodied, slightly aged Bordeaux).

Dessert of pistachio and mango ice-cream was all I could manage; well, apart from an incredibly complimentary pairing (by Toby) of an Essensia Orange Blossom Muscat dessert wine. As if she hadn’t had enough food and drink, my mum quizzed Toby on the difference between an Armagnac and a Cognac. Simply not enough to explain, Toby insisted. Whilst I couldn’t really differentiate between the two, or between the prices of each, I did pick what Toby later revealed as his favourite, Tesseron. I am obviously worthy of a smoking jacket, pipe and slippers.

Politely refusing the offer of a cocktail, I mentioned to my reluctant mother that it was probably time to leave and insist she text me when she got home. She’s usually woozy off one shandy, so the overprotective request seemed necessary. Waving enthusiastic thanks to Toby (and probably most of the restaurant) for his hospitability and for restoring my faith in guides, I concluded that out of all the places I have travelled in my young years, Tamarind is the most exotic, the most welcoming, and the most gifted in the guidance it gives to all its many fans.
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Customer Reviews for Tamarind

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Tamarind.

“A perfectly chic little hidaway right in the heart of mayfair, perfect for dinner before heading onto mahiki. Well cooked indian food with an astoundingan astounding wine wine list to boot. Deffo would recommend and visit again - Michelin stars must be just around the corner.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Cosmo, london (8 years 2 days ago)

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Additional Information

Tamarind Food & Drinks

  • Cuisine Type: Indian
  • Average Price: £65.00

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