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RESTAURANT REVIEW: Tapas the world with tasty treats at Namaste Delhi

Keema mutter is the Indian version of mince... and Namaste Delhi's is delicious.

You know that thing where you go for a curry and there are so many tempting things on the menu, you can’t decide what to have?

Well, Namaste Delhi has a solution – offer a tapas option.

Sure you can go whole hog on one main if you like, but you can have a pick and mix choice if you like. And my missus and I liked very much indeed.

True confession time. We are old hands at Namaste and have been since it first opened its doors on the lower end of Bridge Street. It has become our go-to place when we want to spice up an evening.

Namaste Delhi has a calm and welcoming atmosphere.

The venue

There’s always a warm welcome and there’s something about the space – open and light in a way that suggests meditation classes might break out  – that is in sharp contrast to the dowdy street junction it sits beside.

When we arrived recently we were popped down at a table and poppadoms arrived along with a zingy mix of dipping sauces. The place was pleasantly busy – always good to see – and alive to the sound of chatter and clattering cutlery.

Now, if you are doing a smorgasbord of curry with someone else there is a real etiquette around choosing what and how much you are going to have.

Aloo gobhi transforms the humble cauliflower into something spectacular.

There’s a fair bit of “if you have that, I’ll have this” and consent that this will be a sharesies affair.

Usually there’s at least one “nah, don’t fancy that” in there along with a “well, we’ve never tried that one, so why not.”

Which is how we arrived at our selection, lightly skipping over the waiter’s helpful suggestion of three or four dishes between two “then go see how you go from there.”

We had five coming our way – not to mention the pilau and roti.

The food

The kitchen was clearly motoring along nicely as we were barely a third of a way down our beers when the food arrived. Quite a lot of it.

Now, we had stepped out of our usual lane with one of the choices, the aloo gobhi. To say I’m not a fan of cauliflower is an understatement. It is the devil’s food, made to torment flavour lovers by dint of being utterly bland. But here, paired with tatties, was a plate of food that made my tastebuds sing.

Maa ki daal is comfort food writ large – a lush bowl of spiced and creamy lentils.

It was a sublime balance of spice, with coriander and cumin in there that created something earthy and lush, with onion and ginger to add bright notes of taste.

While we were dabbling around in earthy meat-free flavours, one of my choices was the maa ki daal.

This is described as the “heart throb” dish of India and you can see why. Who knew that cooking black lentils with cream and butter on a slow fire overnight could create something quite so delicious. It was rich and subtly spiced and one spoonful immediately demands another.

It’s the sort of comfort food I would happily have every day.

Back in the land of the carnivore, there were some equally delightful offerings.

Namaste Delhi’s fluffy pilau rice is a perfect side dish.

If Namaste Delhi is our go-to place for curry, then railway lamb is my go-to dish when we are there.

It is always near perfect, the softest lamb in a dark, spicy broth with just the right hint of sweetness running through it and bite-sized chunks of tatties. You can either spoon it over pilau rice (we ordered one of those) or dip buttery flaky roti  (we had one of those, too) straight into the bowl.

We kept with the lamb theme for another choice, keema mutter, which is essentially the Indian version of mince, all spices and garden peas. Again, there was a depth of flavour from the minced lamb and the peas just brightened things up.

Now, with tapas there is inevitably an orphan dish, the one you ordered on a whim, then no one really wants it. In this case, it was the Delhi murg makhani. The menu said it’s everyone’s favourite, but not ours.

Delhi murg makhani with roti.

Not that there was anything wrong with this bowl of tender chicken, but the tomato-rich sauce was too far over on the sweet side for our tastes. That said, there was still a fair amount of chilli hanging around the background just to keep you going back for more. And since we polished it off, it couldn’t have been too bad.

Our friendly waiter came over to clear away our plates and said “gosh, you ate it all… that was a lot of food”. He’s right, it was.

The verdict

So much so that our plans for an apres dinner beer were kicked into touch in favour of a train home so we could just lie on the couch and contentedly chill while singing the praises of Namaste Delhi.

After all, what’s not to like about a place that serves delicious, contemporary Indian food, cooked with love and served in a sanctuary of welcome calm?


Namaste Delhi, 64 Bridge St, Aberdeen AB11 6JN

Price: £54.45