Harden's survey result
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“An Indian with a real difference”, this little place “off the beaten track in Bloomsbury” serves up an “interesting menu of carefully spiced dishes” – “and it’s good value for central London”.
“Excellent Indian food with a twist” rewards a visit to this “busy”, brightly lit Bloomsbury venture.
“A real find for Bloomsbury!” – this “brightly decorated” Indian puts “a slightly modern twist on the usual offerings”, and offers “fresh and spicy” fare that’s “better than average”.
“Hard to find, but worth discovering”; this “contemporary” Indian, on a Bloomsbury backstreet, serves up “a few unusual, regional dishes”, plus some “adventurous interpretations” of more familiar classics.
Salaam Namaste WC1
Lunchtime crowding shows this Bloomsbury newcomer has quickly made a name for itself: perhaps because it offers a satisfying - if basic - midday fill-up for just a fiver. But it's not just economical locals who are making a song and dance about it. A number of press luminaries have hailed this ordinary-looking Indian as a real hidden gem (and an accessible one too, just a couple of minutes from trendy Lamb's Conduit Street).
You only need glance at the extensive (if tatty) menu to realise that the aspirations here are out-of-the-ordinary. Yes, there are all your usual biryanis and so on, but there are also - still at good prices - lots of unusual dishes too. And first culinary impressions really are very good. The popadoms are excellent, and they come with some really tasty (and spicy) chutneys and relishes. Some of the starters too (a luscious prawn, deep-fried in crispy pastry, for example) were quite exceptional.
After a couple of visits, though, we couldn't persuade ourselves that the main courses here are worth the fuss. A spectacular failure was chicken breast stuffed with minced lamb and spinach. It sounded intriguing, but turned out a real dog's breakfast. (The waiter, removing the half-eaten plate, admitted it could be 'rather heavy'.) Basics were unreliable, too. Rice, served in mounds, was cool and rather dry and the naan-bread was nothing to write home about.
The odd successful novelty such as lamb with citrus fruits did, however, hint at the joys others have unearthed. So maybe - just maybe - we were serially unlucky.
68 Millman St, London, WC1N 3EF
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lunch noon - 2.30 pm, dinner 5.30 pm - 11.30 pm
Last orders: 11.30 pm, Sun 11 pm