Nanna Uddin, award winning head chef at Tamarind Gardens
Nanna Uddin, award winning head chef at Tamarind Gardens
 

The first thing that struck me was the fact that my dinner date and I were the only people in the restaurant. That should be a bad sign but after a lovely meal I would encourage more people to give Tamarind Gardens a go.

Having only opened on December 1, word is spreading but the place needs to pick up.

The halal menu is good value and adapted monthly according to customer feedback, and there are constantly different offers available. Manager and owner Sham Jain was extremely friendly, offering my friend advice on his upcoming travels in India and helping to provide a warm atmosphere in the small, cosy venue, which is simple but comfortable.

Sham told us his aim is to ensure everybody walks away satisfied, which they try to achieve by keeping everything fresh and sticking to a small menu to concentrate on quality.

The chef, who has previously run his own restaurant in Brick Lane, comes from Sialkot in the north east of the Punjab province in Pakistan, and the cuisine has influences from this region.

Tamarind Gardens, 116 Churchfield Road, Acton
Tamarind Gardens, 116 Churchfield Road, Acton
 

Tamarind Gardens, the only licensed restaurant in Churchfield Road, also has a room downstairs which is being done up so people can rent it out for private banquets.

My dining companion and I started with aloo tikki – fried mash potato mixed with spices and chilli (£3.95), and tamarind kebab – the chef’s special recipe of onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, chillies, tomato and egg (£6.95).

We thought the potato was interesting as a starter and the kebab was not a traditional one, but had been boiled, making it a healthier option.

For our mains we opted for tamarind chicken with green mango, almonds, cream and spice flavoured sauce (£10.95), and the restaurant’s most popular dish, jalfrezi chicken with onion, green pepper and green chillies with fresh ginger (£8.95). They both tasted very fresh and not too oily while still rich in spice and flavour.

The side dishes recommended to us were cheese and spinach (£4.95), and daal tarka – yellow lentils with spices and fresh coriander (£4.95). The daal was nice, quite standard for a good Indian restaurant but I found the salt too overpowering in the spinach side.

Everything was very filling and by the time it came to dessert my friend and I were struggling, but wanted a taste of something sweet.

I got hot carrot cake with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream (£5), which was not carrot cake as we imagined it, but cooked shredded carrot, raisins and spices.

My friend ordered the chilled rasmalai, cheesecake (£5), which was refreshing but, again, not your usual cheesecake, but a type of white, soft, Indian cheese in a milky mixture. The whole evening was very pleasant and I was more than satisfied and hope the seats fill up soon.

Tamarind Gardens, 116 Churchfield Road, Acton
Tamarind Gardens, 116 Churchfield Road, Acton