If we learnt anything from binge-watching The Affair and our secondary school debate team, it’s that there are two sides to every story. And that’s true for a lot of restaurants as well. For every tasty dish, there’s a waiter who seems to get their kicks from giving you the stink eye. For every shiny, charming setting, there’s a cocktail menu that reads like your shopping list the week you turned eighteen. And for every excellent, mop-clean Indian dish at Kama By Vineet there’s the fact that its setting causes a fair few problems.
Just like our mothers taught us, we’ll start with the good things first. The things that make it the kind of place you countdown your return to like you’ve got a monumental crush on their chocomosa. Yes, a chocomosa. In case you’ve never had to decode a celebrity couple’s name, that’s a chocolate samosa. It’s great. But still not a touch on their savoury chickpea chaat samosa. Or the pistachio lamb chops that come with a saffron mash we’d ghost a spud for any day. It’s the kind of meal where you already want to make another booking before dessert even hits the table. And you should, because everything from the rich butter chicken to the creamy lemongrass prawns are the kind of keepers you’ll perform a seasonal Piccadilly line pilgrimage for when you remember just how good they are.
But. Yes, the inevitable but. And it’s a big one. Kama By Vineet is a little 26-seater next to a bunch of other mini restaurants inside Harrods’ dining hall. It’s like a millionaires market where the prices are high, the oysters are cold, and the jaw-dropper ceiling is more royal crypt than restaurant hall. It’s sophisticated and surprisingly intimate once you’re seated, but the dining hall closes when Harrods does - a PG, pre-watershed 9pm. How are you expected to finish work, three courses, and a bottle of Chablis before Channel 4’s even allowed to show a single nipple? Last orders are called for at 8.30, and if timing isn’t on your side, you can end up playing favourites between the last of your peshwari naan and your dessert. Plus, running two floors to the closest toilet whilst Hulk Hogan’s clone shouts that “the shop has already closed” makes for a pretty shit digestif.
Now over to the defence. None of that would really matter if this was the kind of place that was easy to leave. But it isn’t. This is the kind of rich, pricey meal you want a solid, three hour sitting to celebrate, and then, fuck it, another mango lassi after that. You want to be able to enjoy it with zero pressure and no time limit over your head. You want to get comfy on the banquette seating and look like your own stomach is serenading you with Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien mid-biryani. Because that’s how tasty the food is. And if you come here for lunch, or can live with an early curfew because of that 7am jiu-jitsu class, you’ll have a fantastic meal. That’s not up for debate.
When you first see this arrive on your table you might think, is this what it would look like if Frank Gehry designed samosas? But as soon as you try them you won’t care what they look like. Or that you can’t afford that lifesize polar bear on the toy floor. Or anything really. These are really excellent.
We’re not proud of the way we pulled these apart like hyenas with a mozzarella fetish. But, importantly, we also don’t regret it.
If this dish was a band, the lamb chops would definitely be their enigmatic frontman. But make no mistake, it wouldn’t be a hit without the back-up of the pomegranate, pistachio, and the absolute zesty goodness that is this saffron mash. A must-order.
Bright enough to be seen from space. Tasty enough to be ordered by us every time we come here. Get it with the saffron pulao and you’ll have enough to share for two.
Smoother than Leonardo DiCaprio chatting up a supermodel on a yacht. Great for sharing and great for dipping some freshly baked naan in.
The lobster, spices, and rice in this biryani are all doing good things for us, but at £48 we’d hoped there would be more to share. Honestly, catch us on a day where we skipped breakfast and we could happily eat this as a main in one sitting.
If you sit at the counter here you can watch the chefs bake some very decent peshwari naan, but its garlic sibling is hands down our favourite.
One of our favourite food mashups of all time. Shoutout to the Lego shaped bebinca too.