The acclaimed London-based restaurant Tamarind opens its doors Monday for dinner to the public, a restaurant spokesman said this week.
The Indian cuisine restaurant in Newport Coast’s Crystal Cove Promenade at 7862 E. Coast Hwy. will operate under the name Tamarind of London and act as the U.S. flagship location.
“For the most part, there is not a restaurant like Tamarind in Los Angeles or Orange County,” said Gene Lawless, vice president of Fessel International, a Costa Mesa-based restaurant consulting firm Tamarind hired for the move.
“We also found that many Newport Beach residents have dined at Tamarind [in] Mayfair and that many Tamarind Mayfair guests have traveled to Newport Beach,” Lawless continued. “We wanted to build on that connection.”
Lawless estimated that between 300 and 400 Newport Beach residents have traveled to London and have already dined at the Michelin star-winning fine-dining establishment, which features both traditional and new takes on Indian cuisine.
The 4,045-square-foot Newport Coast restaurant seats 145 and features walnut flooring and a patio seating area with a fountain.
The architecture, interior design and menu will reflect Indian roots, without being intimidating to the diner, Lawless said.
“We’re marrying great, traditional Indian food with more modern interpretations of flavors and tastes,” Lawless said.
Items such as tandoori steak are new to Tamarind and are not found in its Mayfair menu or in traditional Indian restaurants, he said.
“The food works back and forth between fairly traditional to a bit more eclectic and exciting tastes that reflect the California dining scene,” Lawless said.
The menu will still feature Tamarind signature dishes such as chicken tikka masala and lamb chops flavored with red chile and cardamom. Dinner items range from $16 to $29.
“Overall, the city of Newport Beach has really defined itself as a premier culinary dining destination in Southern California,” said Peggy Forts, executive director of marketing for the Newport Beach Restaurant Assn.
“Through all our dining establishments, whether they are fine dining or independently owned establishments, we really do have, for a city of our size, an impressive range of restaurants,” she continued. “So, when an award-winning restaurant of this caliber like Tamarind opens, it brings more attention and focus to the fact that Newport Beach is such an outstanding culinary destination.”
The restaurant debuts Saturday night to an invite-only crowd who will see Bollywood dancers and Dhol drummers. Regular reservations start Monday, with cocktail service beginning at 4 p.m. and dinner at 5 p.m.
While the restaurant is not open for lunch yet, Lawless estimates that it will begin operating daytime hours early next year.