Food review: Namaste India on Opie Street leaves an authentic taste
- Credit: Archant
We try ditching the take-away and dining out at an Indian restaurant with a difference.
My husband and I are rather partial to an Indian take-away. It's one of the easiest ways to treat ourselves to some nice food without the hassle of arranging a baby-sitter.
Therefore, when we get a rare opportunity to go out for dinner, we tend to go for something different. But when I heard good things about vegetarian restaurant Namaste India, I was keen to give it a go.
We booked a table on a Monday night, and I'm glad we did - it's a very popular spot.
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I'd heard the Dosa are amazing, but the Baingan Bharta caught my eye. It's a mashed smoky aubergine curry prepared with tomato, onion, ginger and fresh coriander, which I ordered with Pulav rice – right up my street!
Lucky, husband Matt was sold on the Dosa, so I knew I'd get a taste at least. He went for the Namaste Special Masala Dosa - a thin and crispy crepe rolled up and stuffed with dry, lightly spiced potato, onion, mustard speed, grated paneer (Indian cottage cheese), coconut and roasted cashew nuts, served with a spiced lentil soup called Sambhar and a cool coconut chutney.
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We also had some yummy mini poppadoms served with three chutneys to start, a side of Chana Masala, a chickpea curry cooked in a rich tomato and onion base, plus some chapattis.
The Dosa was absolutely huge – literally hanging off the edge of the plate. I knew it was good because Matt very quickly offered me a taste – it's always nice to share a good thing. And I returned the favour with my aubergine curry. It was smoky and delicious, as was the chapatti with a big scoop of Chana Masala.
We'd already eyed up the desserts, and both fancied the Hindustani – Gulab Jamun, a spongy, milky doughnut in cardamom golden syrup, served with Kulfi ice cream and mango with nuts on the top.
I have one word for this dessert – yum!
Our bill came out with a dish of mukhwas, or mouth freshener. The idea is to chew a spoonful to cleanse the palette and help neutralise the acidic curry to prevent indigestion. It's probably not something I'd have again, but I'm glad I gave it a go.
Namaste India does not promote drinking, and only serves non-alcoholic beers. Diners can bring their own alcohol, with corkage charges of £4.95 per bottle of wine and £1.45 per beer/lager.
The soft drinks options included lots of fruit juices and smoothies. The only thing I was a bit disappointed with was that they didn't serve fresh coffee – I would have liked a cup at the end of my meal.
If you like your Indian restaurants modern and trendy then Namaste India might not be for you. I would describe it as authentic, with bright yellow walls, on which were hung lots of pictures and decorations.
When we first arrived there weren't many diners, but it soon filled out with eager dinners tucking into some really interesting dishes and there was a real buzz as everyone enjoyed their food.
I would say it's not great. The restaurant is very small, so not much room for manoeuvring, plus the toilet is down a steep flight of stairs.
Closest would be Castle Mall.
It's just off Castle Meadow, so ideal if you're getting the bus and walkable from anywhere in the city centre.
As I said, the single toilet is down a steep flight of stairs. It was clean if a little dated.
It was certainly more than a take-away, but I can clearly see why. The owners have created a really authentic Indian restaurant where diners can get a true taste of the food eaten in their native Gujarati. It was so unlike any other curry I've ever had that I don't mind the higher cost.
The waitress was really friendly and only too happy to answer our questions, of which we had quite a lot.
Indian restaurants are very much back on my radar when it comes to eating out. There's so much more to Indian food than korma or tikka masala. Being a pescatarian, I usually go for a prawn or fish option, so I wasn't sure how a completely vegetarian curry would work, but it really does. Overall, I felt like we'd had a really authentic taste of India. I'd like to go back again and have one of those Dosa all to myself.
This is an independent review.