Hattie Lloyd 28/07/22
Some restaurants just name themselves.
Like this one, The Tamil Prince – a buzzy new Islington eatery from a chef called Prince, who hails from Tamil Nadu in South East India. The fact that he also used to be the executive chef at Roti King before going it alone feels like one coincidence too many, but regardless – last night this place was packed, and for good reason…
Located in a small former pub in residential Islington – now cloaked in a handsome wash of forest green paint – the focus here is cuisine from Prince Durairaj’s home state. It’s a small, lively space, with a well stocked bar to the right as you enter, a stretch of counter seating with excellent windows for people-watching, and a cluster of larger tables at the back, where groups are tearing at pliable, flaky roti and mopping up burnished tureens of dhal.
The menu’s built to share, separated into small and large plates. At the smaller end of the scale you’ll find okra fries – crisp, delicately spiced fingers of greenery – and spiced chicken lollipops with chutneys for dipping. A rich, creamy dhal makhani arrives with an inviting glob of butter rapidly changing from solid to liquid at its centre. And on the larger end, the grilled tiger prawns are a must-order, fantastically meaty and humming with spice – but the showstopper is the channa bhatura, which comprises a delicious chickpea curry and a giant, almost spherical fried bread which deflates, satisfyingly, into crisp, buttery wodges to dip into a richly flavoured raita.
It’s hard to exercise restraint on a menu that has so many attractions, but try to save a little room for dessert – mostly creamy in texture, they arrive dusted with rose petals and pistachio, while the mango lassi is exceptional, bearing a nice yoghurty tang.
The Tamil Prince may have switched the space from boozer to restaurant, but there’s still a strong line-up of drinks here. They’ve enlisted Simone Pugi (of the fantastic Bar Termini) to put together a cocktail menu, which ranges from classic negronis to the tequila, pear & ginger ale-laced Serafin, an import from Termini’s cousin, 69 Colebrooke Row. And of course, there’s a great selection of Indian and British beers on offer, too.
Best of all, The Tamil Prince has kept those outdoor tables, which we sense may be of use in the coming months…
…if we’re blessed with an Indian summer.
NOTE: The Tamil Prince is now open. You can find out more, and make a booking via their website HERE.
The Tamil Prince | 115 Hemingford Road, London N1 1BZ
Like dining locally? Check out our pick of Islington’s best restaurants
115 Hemingford Road, Islington, N1 1BZ
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8.5 | Great
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