|Namaste Indian Cuisine & Bar
|11am – 12pm|
|20 Section 4, South Renmin Rd.|
|028 8556 9118|
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Mark Hiew (more chengdu)|
Located opposite the Shamrock is Namaste, a long-serving Indian restaurant and music bar. It’s not difficult to see why Namaste has proven so popular over time. Though its reasonably authentic northern Indian cuisine is cheaper than the nearby Tandoor, Namaste’s main draw is its atmosphere. With its combination of sheer, silky drapes, warm lighting and New Age-friendly paintings, the restaurant feels at once laid back and refined. Its open layout and wooden interior paneling evokes a traditional haveli. The central “courtyard” area’s Tibetan mat floor-seating invites languorously extended meals, while the booths in the back offer couples greater intimacy.
If only the food itself could live up to the décor. As a whole, the portions, though not overpriced (entrees average 20-40 RMB) are extremely small. My table of five ordered nine dishes, rice and nan, but were still far from satisfied. Additionally, though their curries are made from scratch, the kitchen uses the same base for many of its dishes, resulting in the same deep brown color and general heaviness to what should otherwise be quite distinct dishes.
The English menu offers a solid selection of northern Indian cooking, proving particularly strong on tandoori (clay oven) style (RMB20-30). Recommended are the homely potato pokora (RMB16), tender mutton vindaloo (RMB33) and the akhabari kabab (RMB38), whose unique mixture of lamb stuffed chicken provides welcome variety. The vegetable samosas (RMB16) were as dry as the Rajasthani desert; the paneer mutter (RMB25) proved significantly tastier. The fruit lassi (RMB15) or masala tea (RMB10) are both good choices to wash down any spice afflictions (though the spice level is gentler than local custom), while black and regular Tsingtao and a selection of French wines (180-360) are also available. Expect to pay 50-70 each. Service is attentive.
Listening to the world beat music, which was a smidge too loud for dining, bouncing merrily from Latin American lounge to African folk, one gets the feeling Namaste’s owners possess an eclectic taste. And, sure enough, a music alcove, tucked discretely away in the back, hosts occasional live performances and jam sessions by local artists.