Name: Salaam Namaste
Area: Bloomsbury
Address: 68 Millman Street
London WC1N 3EF
Phone: 020 7405 3697

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 29 Apr 2010|2. 24 Nov 2011|3. 29 Aug 2013

Robin presents Tim (left) with an engraved glass to commemorate his 100th appearance.
(It was actually his 102nd 'start', but that story is too long to tell here.)

Visit Report

Visit Number: 161 (visit 3 of 3 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 29 Aug 2013
Cost per head: £30.00 (2 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 2.4 6.1 6.2 6.9 6.7 6.8 7.8 7.2 5.8 6.40
Jon 2 6 7 6 6 6 7 8 5 6.0 See Jon's comments
Richard 2 7 5 5 7 7 7 7 5 5.9 See Richard's comments
Neil 1 4 6 5 4 7 7 8 4 5.3 See Neil's comments
Dominic 4 6 8 6 5 8 6 6 6.3 See Dominic's comments
Graeme 3 7 6 8 7 9 7 7 7.1 See Graeme's comments
Tim 3 5 7 7 8 7 8 7 5 6.5 See Tim's comments
Jeff 2 5 6 7 8 8 6 5 6.2 See Jeff's comments
Robin 0 7 4 8 7 7 8 8 7 6.5 See Robin's comments
Alex 5 8 7 10 8 8 8 8 7.9 See Alex's comments

All Comments

Jon - Salaam Namaste was once again let down by the level of its service. The food is generally very good but they really need to sort out the service issues.  Most obviously it was just very very slow. At least they did get the popadoms and drinks orders out of the way soon, but we then had to ask for menus after they didn't appear within the first 10-15 minutes. We must have been in there for approaching an hour before the starters arrived, and it was another long wait for the main course. And then they appeared to have forgotten some of the accompaniments, notably the special rice and mushroom bhajis. On the food, both my duck starter and lamb shank main were good (although not on a par with the Mehek). But there was no onion salad with the popadoms, the rice portions were quite small and 2 keema naans ordered arrived as six quarters which doesn't quite add up.  On the beer, they kept on pushing the draft "Cobra" but none of us trusted them enough to think it might actually be Cobra and the £30 price tag, while not extortionate, does seem expensive when the 30% TopTable discount and our decision to not pay the service charge is considered. Company was great as always, and Jeff, Robin and I found some other good pubs to complement the official one, but the restaurant experience was spoiled by the poor service.

Richard - I really liked many things about Salaam Namaste. The menu was interesting, with lots of unusual dishes from a variety of cuisines, including Keralan, Fish, Bhel Poori and others. My soft shell crab starter was not as good as I have had in another Indian restaurant, but it is an unusual dish so hard to judge. My main of King Fish was delicious although it should have been de-boned as getting bones out of a thick curry is difficult. Overall the food was very good standard I think, service was friendly, location interesting and the atmosphere was good. There were 3 major flaws. The starter and main dishes took ages to arrive (even the menu had to be asked for and the starters took 45 minutes to arrive). The prices were high even with the TopTable discount – the cost of £33 was with service of zero (some dispute over the amount as I paid £35 and some paid less). Starters were slow to come last year as well, so this is not a one-off. Finally, despite reminding the waiters of Graeme's "curry-on-head" incident last time we were there, a waiter spilt beer over Robin's bag.

Neil - Tim's 100th curry night started slowly with Richard getting to the pub half an hour before anyone else and making some new friends. Luckily Neil and Graeme turned up to save the show! Curry experience much the same as the last visit, good quality dishes but very slow service with a delay of an hour between sitting down and starters arriving and a similar delay for the main course to turn up. Meat tasted over cooked so I guess no surprises why. No curry shampoo this time though for Graeme, surprised he sat in the same place as that was just asking for trouble! Good spot by Tim that the bottles of Cobra were much better value than the draught (extra quarter for same price). Not sure about his selection of mint paratha, however, this was a lot like fried toothpaste on toast!

Dominic - Ever since we first tried this eatery a few years back the overall experience seems to be in decline. Don't get me wrong, the food is still largely good and interesting but the service is getting worse as evidenced by the wait for menus followed by the wait for our order to be taken which meant we were still waiting for starters well over an hour after arriving .... and the place wasn't that busy! Anyway, my starter of the Soft Shell Crab was interesting but a tad bland but my main of the Lamb Shank was quite tasty. The rest was just OK but the wine was very well priced. A special mention to Tim for achieving his "Centurion" status and great banter as always.

Graeme - I really like this place (it's in a good location and the food is excellent) but, boy, does it need to improve its service? It's so slow that it spoils the overall experience. And it wasn't even that busy in there. Anyway, apart from that, it was a very enjoyable evening. I had Tandoori Ratan (grilled salmon, a rhubarb dish, chicken Tikka) to start which was tasty and nicely presented. For main I had the King Prawn Patia which was lovely - I took advantage of the Toptable discount to choose something from the higher end of the menu. I think Richard had come out looking for an argument - within 5 minutes of us meeting in the pub, he had tried to pull a fast one with the whip*, criticised the HTML in the CurryMarks website and disagreed with me about what constitutes wholesale vs retail selling. He's obviously not getting enough! (*Actually, we sorted that out later - let's call it a misunderstanding!)

Tim - We arrived shortly after 7:45, and were quickly served popadoms. Accompaniments were unusual - there were three, one of which tasted like Ragu/Bolognese sauce. Cobra was available on draught and by the bottle. As a large bottle (660ml) was the same price as a pint (586ml), and we've had some problems in the past with draught beer not being what we were told, we went for the bottles. We also ordered some wine and water - the wine arrived, but not the water, which had to be requested a further two times. We tried two wines, IIRC a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Malbec/Syrah blend. Both wines were surprisingly lightweight, though neither was particularly expensive. We requested menus, as these hadn't been provided yet, and ordered, and then waited, and waited further. Finally, at 9:05 the starters arrived. I had Tandoori Ratan - Minted grilled salmon, Rhubarb Raisin Paneer Tikka, Cumin Chicken Tikka - quite interesting, though personally I felt it was a little dry and I would have preferred some sauce, e.g. mint raita with it and some salad. Main course of sea bass was good, an interesting sauce, and no bones! Mint paratha was also good. So, the menu is definitely interesting; lots of dishes I haven't seen elsewhere, though quite expensive with average main courses around £13 (less with TopTable discount of 30% off food). Service was really slow, as it was when we were last here two years ago. Overall then, the evening was a bit mixed.

Jeff - I like the area this is in, in Bloomsbury (I think) somewhere a bit different and less frantic than the city; but the staff took 'less frantic' a bit too far - it took longer for the menus to arrive than it would usually take a starter to appear.  Arrival time - 7.45; starter arrival time, 9.15-ish; main course arrival time - 9.45. By that time we were nearly on our own in the small-ish room, most of us were more than a little tipsy, faint with hunger, bolted our food, and then left while arguing about whether we should pay for service or not. I've given 2 for service as they were quick and happy to clear up a beer-spillage.  The food was not bad.  Congratulations to Tim on his 100th curry marks.

Robin - Great food let down by absolutely abysmal service. I had the mustard quail to start, which was excellent, followed by balti chicken tikka (which came in a metal flower pot rather than the more traditional balti bowl); lovely sauce, plenty of chicken - very good indeed. The special rice and the other veg dishes were all great, but I marked the beer down since that's where they knocked my glass of Cobra – down all over my bag. They were very apologetic and did their best to clean up, but my bag was still rather damp – fortunately only on the outside. Some maladroit service seems to be part of the usual experience here – last time it was curry sauce on Graeme's bald spot (which is still bald, though). But the service was diabolical; the poppadums arrived soon enough, but then there was a very long wait indeed for our starters, and an even longer wait for our mains (which were finally served 2 hours after we'd first sat down). Jon and I refused to pay any service charge and I think the others might have mostly followed our lead; entirely appropriate under the circumstances. I'm no longer sure if I want to go back to this one despite the excellent food.

Alex - Problem with this restaurant was the glacial service, it was not super-busy but took 2 hours to get a main. In contrast my starter was brilliant, one of the nicest I've had. The main I chose was interesting but not quite what I'd expected from the description. They really need to sort out the high-latency food although I've left the VFM on taste versus price.

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