London’s Tamarind Opens This Monday in Newport Beach

Tamarind's chicken malai tikka Photo: Annie Mole via Flickr

Well, well, well, look at Orange County now, with it shiny new Mozza location, Pitfire Pizza expansion, double-decker Umami Burger, and chic designer drugs flowing from every Starbucks. Today O.C. Register reports even more good fortune for the region, as Tamarind, London’s upscale, Michelin-starred Indian stunner, is opening shop this Monday at Newport’s Crystal Cove Promenade.

Tamarind's chicken malai tikka Photo: Annie Mole via Flickr

So how in naraka did a renowned U.K. restaurant choose Newport for its only other location? Writer Nancy Luna tells us the project comes from Navin Khanna, a founder of Tamarind who travels frequently to Southern California, but probably never took to Artesia Blvd. so well.

Taking over the Sage on the Coast space, Khanna put three-million dollars into the 4,000-square-foot, 144-seat project, where he’ll bring Bollywood-style dancers and drummers on Saturday night to celebrate privately with friends and partners. Inside, one will be seated among mahogany tables for a mix of authentic tandoori dishes, slow-cooked curries, and Indian-influenced, market-lead creativity coming from the open kitchen of executive chef Shachi Mehra. Vegetarians and Vedics beware, steak kabob will be served. Dishes will be kept under $30 and a daily happy hour is planned from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M.

We’re a little concerned that Newport’s incurably white people won’t appreciate this first-class Indian restaurant, but we could be wrong. Already a local who belongs to a yacht club has reserved tables three nights in a row, so who really knows? On the flip side, should Indian purists be concerned that the food could want for spice or spirit when Mehra claims, "Part of creating the menu is to make it more accessible to people." Find out Monday when Tamarind opens in Newport.

Tamarind, 7862 E. Coast Hwy. Newport Beach. 949-715-8338.

Preview: Newport Beach to debut top London eatery [OCR]