By John Whelan
The Kennington Tandoori is a legend and at times a hotbed for politicians, both local and national, which beats the heat of anything that emerges from the modernised kitchens. Its location and quality of management are the keys to its success and well-earned reputation. It would be a mistake to regard the “KT” as it is affectionately known as just a meeting place for politicians whether in Parliament or on Lambeth Council. Cricket lovers flock there when the last ball has been bowled at the Oval during a test match or a county game of a summer evening or if rain stops play. The charismatic owner Dr Kowsar Hoque, who trained as a surgeon at UCH in London, is a philanthropist who hosts events for a medical charity each year and supports many local causes about which more later. He says he manages the restaurant in the evenings as an antidote to his traumatic day time job.
In the meantime, the KT which is Michelin star rated offers fine modern Indian cuisine with the finest chefs recruited from around the world. One recent customer says: “At last we have a Michelin rated restaurant in Kennington, fabulous food, and service. Came here for my uncle’s 70th+ birthday dinner and this is, hands down, the best Indian food I have EVER had. The food was impeccable. All the meat was cooked to perfection – so tender. The curries were delicious and perfectly spiced.”
First the legend. The KT which has a thriving takeaway business was chosen by former prime minister David Cameron for a “last supper” at 10 Downing Street on his last day in office. He wasn’t the first prime minister to order in food from the KT and probably won’t be the last. Among the regulars at the KT are senior Parliamentarian Ken Clarke, former Chancellor Justice Secretary. who lives nearby and always sits at the same table, Anne Widdecombe usually with an entourage of young men, and in days gone by the late Charles Kennedy who lived a few doors away. Another regular diner is the MP for Croydon North Steve Reed who used to be Leader of Lambeth Council. However, in 2002 when the majority party lost control of Lambeth the two opposition parties secretly planned a joint administration at a dinner in the KT involving the two-party leaders and it was ever after known as the “Tandoori Alliance” – there was a lot of “orange” in the curry but to include the blue there had to be a cocktail after the meal.
As for amenities, the KT has highly efficient air conditioning and following a recent modernisation to the restaurant space has what can be booked for a private dining area. The KT is often busy especially in the evenings so it is wise to book. It is easily accessible by bus and is a 15-minute walk from Oval Tube Station.
313 Kennington Road
London SE11 4 QE
Tel 0207 735 9247