I was super excited to be trying out the food and drinks at Tamatanga…on a Monday night. After perusing the menu online; it was pretty hard getting through the day, as I was dreaming about curry and cocktails (this happens on days that I’m not eating out too).
A bright and warm environment greeted my husband and I as we came inside out of the chilly air (don’t worry, I’ll stop with the fictional book style of writing; I just like to set the scene). Sat in the Orion Building on Navigation Street; the vibrant Indian Eatery is pretty much next to Grand Central, and you’ll have no trouble finding it if you’re in Brum. After my eyes processed the colour and setting; the glorious smell from the kitchen hit me, and I was excited.
We went and sat at the bar while we waited for our table; I was particularly excited by the double page gin and tonic menu and the list of cocktails, beers, and soft drinks. The bar staff were friendly, and we felt comfortable and instantly welcome. We ordered a couple of cocktails, and sat at the bar to take it all in.
The cocktails were tasty and refreshing; a little too sweet for my palette, but there were plenty of other drinks to choose from, so I went for a gin and tonic next (which was incredible by the way). There are 14 gins to choose from, and they can be matched with one of the 5 tonic waters (or any mixer), and finished off with one of 8 garnishes; ginius! My husband has the sweetest tooth I know, and continued through the cocktail menu; for research purposes (he had a very jolly Monday night).
Just so you know; we didn’t smash all those drinks before eating, they were sipped/slurped throughout the meal. Anyway, on with the food! We sat down on comfy chairs and were greeted with menus, and cutlery that was packaged neatly in a little envelope with a napkin, labelled “Eating Kit.” I thought this was a cute touch, and a great way to ensure your fork doesn’t fall off the table before your dinner arrives. Our eyes widened as we looked through the menu, and we thought why order just one starter (or small plate, as they’re called on the menu), when we could choose four to nibble on? So. We ordered four starters (we were a cocktail in, and feeling confident).
The lovely waitress also bought us some poppadoms and a selection of sweet, spicy, and fresh chutneys. I mean, can you have an Indian meal without them? No. No you can’t.
The veggie samosas arrived with tamarind chutney, and just like the menu stated; were golden triangles of loveliness. Crispy, then soft, then sweet from the chutney dip, then crunchy around the edges. It’d be the perfect first date starter, as you could both have one, and delicately dip and eat them; gazing at one another. However, after nearly 9 years with my other half; it was all about getting the plate closer to me than him, and making passive aggressive sighing noises when he picked up something I wanted to eat (love you babe).
Onion bhajis, made with onion and carrot, arrived next with a pot of mint and coriander chutney. These were perfect little discs; making them great for dipping. The only thing was that there were three on the plate. An odd number on a dish can make me somewhat anxious about the how even the dividing of the meal with be. However, it was all sorted when I made the executive decision to have the majority. Happy wife, happy life. Everyone wins.
My favourite small plate was the tempura prawns with tamatanga chutney. They were fat juicy prawns covered in a crispy, spicy batter, and I could eat them all day. The sweet and tangy chutney was a lovely addition, and I also dipped them in the mint and coriander chutney that came with the bhajis; heaven. The fish fingers of amritsar were another fried delight; the spiced coley fish bites arrived with a gurkha roasted tomato and some garlic chutney to dip. I’d recommend having more than one small plate, so you can mix and match your dips to taste; they all accompanied the food delightfully (I’d never say delightfully in conversation, but it’s a nice word to write and does actually describe the food accurately).
Believe it or not; we still had room for more, so we went on to order a Tamatanga Thali. This was a sharing dish (I’m getting good at this concept) that contained salad, poppadoms and chutney, two veg dishes, daal of the day, raita, rice, naan and any two curries of your choice. The curries we chose were the Balchao Prawn curry and the Paneer Makhani. Don’t read the next bit mom, but fuck; that paneer was delicious.
I loved having all the dishes to choose from, with plenty to dip and accompany each one. I’d normally go for something a little hotter, but it made a positive change to taste the flavours of the ingredients when they weren’t overpowered by chilli. I momentarily forgot that Marv was there and had a right nice time eating everything. Definitely choose the thali if you’re there with someone that you’re happy to nudge out the way as you reach for stuff. I think it would make a great family dish too, as there’d be enough to please every palette, and there are lots of little portions, rather than one great big one. When I go back hough; I’m heading straight for that paneer again…
I bet you’re thinking; bloody hell, that was a lot of food and drink. And you’d be correct. However, it doesn’t end here; we then ordered dessert. I had a pistachio kulfi, which was creamy and nutty, and a light(ish) end to the meal. Marv went for a mango sorbet; again, because he felt choosing anything heavier may have hospitalised him. The desserts were tasty, but by that point we should have not been eating anymore, so it was a struggle consuming them. Skinny jeans were a poor clothing choice from me; however, my bomber jacket covered up the fact I’d undone the button so that I could continue to breathe.
The tamatanga team were so friendly; I couldn’t fault the service. The food was super tasty, and I’ll definitely be returning for more of that paneer makhani. The cocktails were all a little sweet for me, but I understand that the bar staff were still fine-tuning things, and there are plenty of alternatives on the menu. My husband and I decided it would be a great place to bring our families, especially our young nephews, if we were having a day in town and needed some lunch. It’s a bright and lively space, and a modern alternative to a traditional Indian restaurant. With a vegan menu, and plenty for veggies and pescatarians; it’s somewhere I’ll be recommending to many.
Peace, love, and poppadoms, Fay x
I was invited by Big Cat to try the food and drinks at Tamatanga free of charge. I wasn’t asked to do a blog, but I had such a nice time; I wanted to.