It is no secret that the Tamarind Indian restaurant is one of my favourite restaurants in Cambridgeshire. I have been coming here for nearly a decade. My family have visited on numerous occasions and we have never had a bad meal. I took my wife on one of our first dates to the restaurant before we got married and we have even had a Cambridge Curry Community event back in 2015.
So you can imagine my worry when I had heard that the restaurant had been taken over by new management. A restaurant which had been consistently excellent, with a long personal history with myself, was now at risk of change.
All my concerns were firmly put to bed after visiting the Tamarind last week, where they presented me with their award winning dish, the Tamarind Jalfrezi.
With the skills of chef Musharof Hussain, the team at the Tamarind were able to win a live cook off competition which led to the prestigious award by the Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA) at their 16th annual awards ceremony.
It is impressive stuff, especially considering that they have only been running the restaurant for a year, and the team quite rightly wanted to celebrate their success with a big party. All their most loyal customers were welcomed as a thank you for their support and to share the dish which had won them the award. It was also fantastic to see other restaurant owners turning up to show their support, showing a great solidarity within the restaurant community.
Curry Wala Media was there to set up the screen, so the team at the Tamarind could show their Chef Of The Year award being presented to them. They were also taking photos, filming the night, and interviewing guests, which are likely to be posted on the Tamarind Facebook page very soon. You may see a familiar member of the Cambridge Foodies bumbling his way through a speech too.
Sitting at our table, we were presented with a selection of dishes, clearly specials which the chef wanted to boast. I always love being taken on a culinary journey at a restaurant, as I am frequently guilty (as we can all be) of sticking with the same dish every visit, and sometimes I need the occasional kick into a different part of the menu.
The service was impeccable, as it was the week before my initial review of the restaurant. We never had to wait long for anything and there was always someone close by to wave down if required.
I was eager to try their now famous Tamarind Jalfrezi Special which had won them the award. The Jalzrezi is probably my least favourite curry, so it was going to be something special to win me over.
They brought the dish out served with lamb, which was a great start. It was a visual feast on the eyes and looked absolutely incredible on the plate. Their take on the Jalfrezi had less of a char flavour and went much easier on the peppers, which are two of the things I struggle with in a Jalfrezi. It was absolutely incredible and the table was universally in agreement that this was a superb take on a Jalfrezi, and for me, probably the best I have ever had. They even managed to remove that sharp taste with the spice which always disagrees with me and replaced it with a warm glow. The dish was faultless.
The food was outstanding, as we have come to expect from the Tamarind over the years. The food has always been great and my worries about new management somehow compromising the quality were long gone. If anything, they have taken it to the next level. As you can see from the pictures above, everything not only tastes great but was presented so well.
After dinner we were invited into the next room for the initial celebration. We watched the videos of the awards and got to meet the team behind the magic, such as the waiters, manager, and of course, the man of the hour, Mr Hussain. It always surprises me how many people go into running an Indian restaurant and I consider it remarkable how they manage to keep the costs of the cuisine so low when compared with food from other parts of the world. It was also a great opportunity to meet members of the Bangladeshi Caterers Association (BCA) and CurryWala Media such as Akram who presented the evening.
I want to thank the team for a wonderful evening. The atmosphere was fantastic, the food was immense, and we all had a lot of fun. It was great to meet so many new people and bump into familiar faces. I wish the Tamarind the best of luck in the future, though I am certain they will not need it.
Thanks for reading!