Is Britain’s favourite food having a moment? We think so …
Ahh, Indian food’s journey is ongoing in London it seems. Now obviously, Indian food exists happily outside of London and is not necessarily undergoing a journey, merely serving the needs of Indians (and others!) the world over by just exisiting and providing requisite amounts of energy to propel folk about their business.
But modern, cross-cultural big city food is a strange world that requires a certain amount of innovation at its vanguard, but not too much. Like any artform it is ok to tinker with the traditions at the front of the new wave but there is only so much ‘revolution’ the audience can take in one go.
This natural conservatism reflects the stability that humans cling to while pretending they are experiencing something dramatically different – how else do you explain Ed Sheeran?
And a wave of innovations in Indian food in the capital is yet to go anywhere near reinventing the wheel. Kricket, Gunpowder, small plates, cocktails, Dishoom, Darjeeling Express, Talli Joe, Chaiparty: all delish, all spinning something slightly to the left.
If you look back we can trace some of this to Tamarind, the first UK Indian to get a Michelin star, the first to go big of refinement, and a new way of presenting Indian food in posh old Mayfair.
Now it has a little cuz open in Soho. With a cool, theatrical interior, and the name Tamarind Kitchen, it is saying, “I’m like Tamarind, but a bit funkier and a bit cheaper – but not too cheap.” In other words, a bit Soho.
So you get three different types of fish with a saucing and laid out a bit nouveau, and then the same with some game. All wrapped up in the Tamarind Kitchen seal of quality and not the knock ‘em dead chilli bang bang of UK curry houses.
Is this the one to truly break the mould? Probably not. Is it a great place to eat? Defo.