The list of new places, openings and pop ups in Birmingham continues to evolve at a pace much faster than either I or my husband can keep up with at the moment. Tamantanga, on Navigation Street is one of those on said ever expanding list. So on a rare day off together a few weeks ago we managed to pop in for lunch. Now I don’t usually associate Indian food with lunchtimes, as I often find it all to heavy to carry on my day after, rather than roll home and on to the sofa, but the pull of the yummy sounding menu and bright interior was too much to resist.
Tamatanga has been open since last Autumn time, and to start with I did read a few mixed reviews about the food so I was interested to see what I would find now they had found their feet. The only other branch in Nottingham is well established and well loved, so hopefully this is a great addition to Birmingham. We started off in the bar area to have a drink while we waited for a table to free up.
I tried a Tama Fusion – elderflower & pear puree with fresh lime and orange juice & finished with curry leaves which was long and refreshing. Lee tried one of their resident beers on tap, there’s a good range of craft beers to try, and of course a trendy gin menu too.
The menu has a lot of options and deals, including traditional curries, thalis, biryani bowls, wraps, salad bowls, a clay oven and more, so really you can choose to eat any which way you want. We decided to share a couple of their small plates, and then one of the Tamatanga Thalis.
Our small plates were the Lamb tikka – tender chunks of lamb, marinated with black pepper, turmeric and spices with a mint & coriander chutney and the Chaat bombs – crisp bread puffs filled with chickpeas, sprouts,spiced yoghurt, tamarind & coriander and toppedwith home made vermicelli. The small plates were a case of one good, one bad. We loved the Chaat bombs. Moreish little bites packed with so much flavour and texture, I would happily eat a plate of these everyday. The Lamb Tikka not so great, flavour wise it was quite ‘nice’ with a hit of garlic but it was so chewy and tough it was difficult to appreciate the flavour.
Luckily the Thali was just delicious. For those that don’t know, a Thali is a nutritionally balanced combination of dishes served in small bowls called katoris, on a stainless steel tray. these meals are an age old tradition of home-style eatingcombining a variety of flavours and textures.
On the menu at Tamatanga they cite these as being perfect for those with a #fomo (fear of missing out, for those not so cool kids) which is good for me who regularly gets sad about not being able to try ALL THE MENU in one go.
On the Tamatanga Thali you get small versions of two curries of your choice from the menu, alongside poppadums & chutney, two veg dishes, daal of the day, raita, rice and naan.
The two curries we chose to try were
Chicken khurana – marinated chicken tikka pieces cooked with sweet potatoes and coconut and flavoured with curry leaves
Punjabi butter chicken – chicken tikka pieces in an earthy, flavoursome and creamy tomato based sauce
Both we really enjoyed. I am certainly a fan of a more creamy, saucy curry like both of these and for me they both hit the spot. If you like Thai style curry flavours then the Khurana reminded me of this. In stark contrast to the tough lamb, the chicken in both was juicy and tender.
So all in all we had a great experience at Tamatanga and enjoyed both the food and bustling atmosphere. We wouldn’t order the lamb tikka again, but there’s plenty more on the menu to get excited about. They seem really kid friendly too, and although Imogen wasn’t with us on this occasion to try them out, I saw plenty of highchairs, a really good baby change room and kids colouring packs as well as their kids menu Tama Tots which looks really good to introduce your little ones to Indian food. Definitely one for a return visit!
Disclaimer: Paid in Full