Tamarind of London in Newport Beach, acknowledged by many as the top Indian restaurant in Southern California, will be presenting a special Father’s Day Menu on June 21. Chef Ali has created several dishes to please your Dad’s palate, while Chef Mark Medina, Pastry Chef at Tamarind of London, will be treating your father’s sweet tooth to some delicious Chocolate Somosas for dessert.
Last week, I had a chance to preview the menu choices for this Father’s Day, along with two items from Tamarind’s contribution to the RED Campaign. To start the meal off right, a RED Rose Petal Martini and a Tower of London Martini were both excellent choices for an adult libation. Tamarind’s signature cocktail, the Tower of London, has cucumber in it to add a fresh and refreshing element to the drink.
The RED Rose Petal Martini had a delightful taste, mild and easy to sip, delightful to enjoy.The drink combines rose syrup, tequila, St. Germain (a sweet liqueur), lime juice, a fresh mint leaf sprig and some beet juice to produce the luscious red color of this tasty cocktail. This cocktail, which is only available through the end of June, is worth not only getting for its taste, but also for the charitable donation which is the RED Rose Petal Martini’s reason for being on the menu.
After enjoying a few sips of these delicious cocktails, the Chef sent out the first appetizer, a duo of a Spiced Potato Croquette and a Grilled Potato Cake with Cumin and Ginger. Both were accented with some Smoked Tomato Chutney and had a bright flavor, with the spices adding flavor but not heat. There is a spicy chutney available to add heat to any dish if desired.
Tamarind does have spicy dishes available with plenty of heat from chilis, but in general when they say spice or spicy they mean cumin, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, turmeric, fennel and other spices which add a dose of aroma and flavor. These spices are what makes Indian food not just flavorful but aromatic also.
The next dish showed what the tandoori oven can do with shellfish, a popular item from India’s immense seacoast. Lassen Jhinga, or Tandoori Spiced Prawns, cunsistend of several succulent prawns, marinated in a garlic and Nigella seed marinade and then grilled in the tandoor. A delicious basil salad accompanied the tasty prawns, which were juicy and perfectly grilled.
As with the prawns, the Lamb Seekh Kebabs were placed on a metal skewer and grilled in the tandoori oven. The lamb, was ground, spiced and molded onto the skewers and grilled nicely, with just a touch of char to remind one of how it was cooked. Served with Masala Mashed Potatoes, the dish was a mélange of wonderful flavors.
Next the main dishes were brought out. Subzi Kofta are vegetable dumplings and this dish was as gorgeous looking as it was delicious. The dumplings were simmered in a rich onion sauce which complemented the mild dumplings. Sautéed Kale added a touch of fresh green vegetable to the dish. The dumplings were light, perfectly seasoned and could convine anyone to ‘eat your veggies’.
Main course proteins included Murgh Tikka Masala, the popular Chicken Tikka Masala consisting of grilled chicken breast, the matching makhni sauce and some sautéed onions to impart a delicate sweetness to the dish. Enough of a punch from chilis added to the flavor without overpowering the rest of the dish.
The other protein on the Father’s Day Menu is a Dakshini Macchi, or Coconut Fish Curry. On the day of the tasting it was a hearty chunk of sea bass, but on Father’s Day, it may or may not be the same. That is because Chef Ali insists on only fresh, local proteins and produce, so on his fishmonger will give him whatever is the best fish the morning of Father’s Day.
The fish, simmered in a ginger and coconut milk sauce, was moist and tasty, with the coconut milk adding the characteristic flavor to this dish. It was certainly one of the most unique and delicious ways to have a nice piece of fish. The ginger really added to the flavor, adding a refreshing and zingy spice to counter the slightly sweet coconut milk. Several characteristic Indian spices really gave the dish a wonderful scent.
Accompanying the main courses were several delcious side dishes. Black lentils are a basic choice with any Indian meal. Fresh made naan bread or rice also comes with the dish, as well as the delectable spinach and cottage cheese dish, palek paneer. Tamarind’s version of this spinach side dish uses nice chunchs of firm cottage cheese along with the creamy spinach and sauce to make an absolutely wonderful dish. After that, some Chocolate Samosas will complete the Father’s Day menu.
Chef Mark also brought out a creation of his that is featured in Tamarind’s contribution to the RED Campaign. The RED Campaign will run through the end of June, with Tamarind of London donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of the RED Rose Petal Martini and the RED Velevet Cake to the charity.
The RED Campaign charity was started by Bono from U2 and activist Bobby Shriver to help get businesses involved in the fight against AIDS. One of their goals is to help pregnant mothers who have AIDS with medication so they do not pass AIDS onto their babies. Kudos has to go to Tamarind for donating 100% of the proceeds from both RED items to the cause.
The RED Velvet Cake shows why Chef Medina has done so well in integrating American and Continental pastry items with Indian sweets and desserts. The Red Velvet Cake is as good as it gets, with a delicious icing that is not overly sweet. The cake is moist and flavorful and is topped with a garnish of white chocolate. On the side, the Indian component is Strawberry Kulfi, the Indian version of ice cream. And what could be a better dessert than cake and ice cream?
The Fathers Day Menu runs from 11:30am-2:30pm and 5-9pm on Sunday, June 21. The price for the all inclusive meal is $45 per adult and $20 per child. Cocktails are not included but can be ordered from the extensive bar selection. The RED Campaign Menu items are available through June 30. With the delicious choices of food and drink for both these events, your Dad will certainly love his Father’s Day meal at Tamarind of London in Corona del Mar.
Tamarind of London
Crystal Cove Promenade
7862 E Pacific Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92657
Father’s Day Menu Available June 21
Red Campaign Menu available through June 30