Namaska Indian

Licensed/BYO $
Shop 9A, Channel Court, Kingston
03) 6229 4433 or 6229 2266
Open: Daily from 11.30am to 8.30pm. Takeaways.

I’ve been told that, long ago, Hobart’s first Indian eatery was the exotically named The Snake Charmer, somewhere up towards North Hobart. Later, the only Indian was Gur Petabs in Battery Point which folded, sold and became D’Angelos.

Now, of course, things are very different and you can get a samosa, rogan josh or vindaloo in just about any part of town. While an Indian friend says that most of the places are serving good, fairly authentic Indian food, her first choice for a night out and a family get together is Namaskar.

So, on that recommendation, and since the restaurant has been around since 2003, I thought it high time I checked it out.

The owner/chef, Madhukar Rao, grew up and learnt his trade in New Delhi before cooking in Germany for a year and moving to Melbourne in 1992 where he established his first Indian restaurant two years later.

After visiting Tasmania a few times and falling in love with the place, Rao and his wife moved here in 2003 with the intention, he says, of slowing down and raising their two young children. Instead of slowing down, they opened Namaskar in Kingston and, a few years later, a small, casual takeaway eatery in the Cat and Fiddle Food Court which they subsequently sold. Then, four years ago, they opened Nirvana in Huonville before selling it two years later to their long-time Namaskar chef.

Namaskar is a bright space on the level above the Channel Court underground carpark. It has semi-open kitchen fronted by a bain marie, the décor is thankfully devoid of the usual Indian kitsch and you are greeted with a spicily aromatic welcome. An astute businessman as well as a chef, Rao, in his various food operations, has obviously read the maturing Hobart palate well.

As is the ‘Asian’ way, the menu at Namaskar is enormous featuring flavours, ingredients and styles of cooking from across the sub-continent – muttar paneer from the Punjab, Goan vindaloos and fish curries, eight versions of naan, roti and paratha breads and different chicken, beef, lamb, seafood and vegetable curries, biryani and palau rice dishes all appropriately marked mild, medium or hot.

We started with a special Taj platter consisting of crisp, mildly spiced vegetable samosas, mushrooms filled with a potato and cottage cheese curry and fried in chickpea batter, chicken tikka and sheek kabab from the tandoori oven accompanied by Kashmiri naan, crisp papadums and wholemeal paratha with a refreshing raita and a small, nicely dressed salad on the side.

Then followed bowls of beef Madras, a Punjabi paneer Makhani, chicken saag, a delicious eggplant baigan bhartha and, from down south, a mildly hot lamb vindaloo where the chilli heat was but one of the beautiful spicings that enlivened the dish.

To conclude, a most delicious and refreshing mango kulfi dessert, among the best “Asian” dessert I’ve had.

There’s a small but adequate and very reasonably priced wine list – Derwent Estate Sauvignon Blanc $8.50/$38 or BYO with $7.00 corkage – and Jake, the night’s waiter, helped make our dinner and evening a delight.

Samosa $4.50; Special Platter $15.00; mains $16/$18

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