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Campton Spices It Up



I want to make this clear: Srijith, the executive sous chef of Campton Place Hotel restaurant, is not the kind of guy who's made his career cooking up a curry of the day. Before he arrived in SF, he was a chef at Deep End—an award-winning Conde Nast restaurant in the Maldives where the menu is Mediterranean.

Nevertheless, since India-based Taj Hotels took over Campton, things have gotten a little spicier. For instance, buried in the bar menu, beneath the hamburger, you'll now find a curry of the day. And Srijith, a sweet, 20-something guy, has been put in charge of it. For the past month or so, he’s good-naturedly been sending out curries just like his Indian grandmother used to make. That is if your grandmother made extra-refined curries and served them in white china bowls with the option of pairing them with Champagne.

I had the pleasure of lunching at Campton's bar last Friday. Champagne on a Friday afternoon? Nothing better. (Don’t tell Chris, my boss.) The shrimp curry was lovely, but it was the lamb curry (normally served on Thursdays) with one gorgeous, melty lamb shank resting in it that stole the show. We ended our meal with pastry chef Boris Portnoy’s gorgeous take on a mango lassi.

By March, Campton Place intends to offer a “Mogul Menu." Created for four people, it will require a 24-hour advance order. Expect eleven courses studded with fancies like caviar and foie gras—all executed with an Indian touch. I bet Bradly Ogden—the former Campton chef who made his name there by making American comfort food haute—would never have guessed his old stomping grounds would have changed quite so much.