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Like most Brits, I love Indian food. I also love sitting in opulent surroundings whilst dining on course after course of wonderfully spiced cuisine. Tamarind, located in the heart of Mayfair, offers both of these and more. For those of us who never know what to order and end up sticking to the same old favourites, they also propose a range of set menus where you get to sample a whole variety of dishes.

Once inside, the restaurants atmosphere is classy and refined. This is definitely somewhere to dress up for an occasion, with its swish interior being a blend of muted colours, bronze pillars, low lighting and mirrored walls. There is even a voyeuristic glimpse into the kitchen behind muted glass.

When it came to ordering, I chose one of the two set menus which also comes in a vegetarian version. The Dawat Menu looked as if it there was an enormous amount of food to plough through, but in reality it was well thought out, light and hugely enjoyable. The kitchen is run by Head Chef Alfred Prasad. The restaurant, now in its tenth year, has maintained a Michelin star for seven years in a row. The menu is based on fresh ingredients and preparation centred on north-west Indian cooking with just the appropriate level of creativity from Alfred.

We began with a trio of starters: tender morsels of chicken came marinated in a creamy, subtly spiced sauce, tandoor grilled monkfish with a hint of ginger and chilli and tender skewered lamb, with essences of garlic and green chillies. With this we had a yoghurt, chickpea and mint chutney accompaniment with a hint of crunchiness about it, providing a wonderfully calming effect on the palate. To drink we tried a bottle of Australian 3 Amigos Marsanne Chard Roussanne 2006, with its bold flavours matching the dishes well.

To follow, we had a whole range of dishes with varying degrees of heat and perfumed spice. These included: scented boneless lamb, chicken in a rich gravy, pungent tiger prawns, crunchy okra, a thick and memorable dahl, perfect rice and two types of naan bread. The food was light as the tandoor method is without the use of fats and oils, allowing one to feast without overload.

To finish we had three different desserts: cool and creamy coconut ice cream, a moist and juicy fried dumpling and a perfectly formed fruit tart. With this we tried a dessert wine, a truly excellent Australian Rymil Botrytis Gewurtztraminer 2007. Served very chilled with hints of summer fruits it was a cool and refreshing end to our meal.

Tamarind is very popular. On the night we visited it was packed, with a large proportion of its diners being of Indian origin and, with so much choice in London for curry lovers, this has to be an endorsement worth its salt.

Louise Elgin. October 2008.

The Dawat Menu is £52.00 per person.

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