Tamatanga is Birmingham’s latest Indian restaurant. Yes, that’s right, the latest this month, so far. *Corrected 15/10/17: not street food (but lots of similar things on menus at the other new Indian restaurants about town).
Whilst Tamatanga is the latest to open in an Indian food flurry almost overpowering the Birmingham Bin Crisis, for me the slightly in-your-face brand doesn’t diminish a pretty commendable experience.
The walls are overloaded. It’s almost like they have a neighbouring city restaurant, just waiting to jump on a snowballing bandwagon in a nearby city open for business, in which to expand their Indian restaurant brand they’ve spent wods of cash on? Oh yes, their only other restaurant is in Nottingham and they were that restaurant that advertised on the back of bus tickets.
Now, working in marketing I am partial to a bold brand and well-written copy, however I couldn’t help but be caught by slight brain freeze at all laid out in front of me. From the ‘eating kit’ aka cutlery, to 26385 words on the menu, to the colour mash-up, you can’t get away from Tamatanga decoratively shouting at you.
It really is big, bold and bright. All the on trend decor elements you’re surprised not to see in restaurants nowadays; exposed piping, naked, hanging lightbulbs and mirror collage feature walls. Still, the music’s lively so on we eat.
Whilst neither of us sampled their cocktail menu (it’s 241 12-7pm too, adding to your Turtle Bay and Las Iguanas agenda), we saw a few beauties being made (Berry Bombay looked ace). They’ve also gone for the build your own gin trend too, definitely not complaining about that one.
My only advice with no further insight whatsoever – do not have the above, the Masala Soda. I literally can’t imagine anyone glugging that pint of filth down thinking it tasted good, one of the worst things I’ve ever tasted 🤢 Evidence file 1 to discredit the last line in their Twitter bio…
Now this is a big ol’ Indian menu. There’s literally so many words on it I’m tired just look browsing. However I had been advised by fellow foodies it wasn’t the best place for actual curry (we are spoilt for choice in Brum though, aren’t we).
Poppadums are obv always a winner and Tama’s oddbin basket of the Indian crisp caught my affection like the oddbod bag of cheap veg at the supermarket. Perfect for picking up and sharing.
For main, did I want to sample their ‘Tama Treat’ (tapas), the ‘Clay Oven’, the ‘curry bowl’ option or did I fancy a Thali, to just go against the better advise of my foodie friends but take Tama’s – ‘fear of missing out’?
Luckily for my poor decision making skills, Thali was off the menu that night so I opted for the Tama Feast (aka mixed grill). DID.NOT.DISAPPOINT.
In the words of Joey, “Prawn, gooood. Salmon, goooood. Chicken (average). Lamb goooood.”
All this juicy, tender and flavoursome tandoor meat sided with Tama’s generous portion of 2 x naan bread. A lacklustre tarka daal on the side is probably unnecessary. We divided garlic & coriander between us.
It’s safe to say, currently Zindiya’s chicken tikka won’t be beaten mixed grill wise-but that salmon and prawn were 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻
R on the other hand is a one man band when it comes to curry; Korma or nothing.
True to form, he opted for his fave (for Indian food review consistency, obv) and wasn’t disappointed. Tandoor roasted meat in a creamy sauce, with rice AND naan for him (one of the two included with each curry bowl – win). Safe to say he was keeled over in belly pain afterwards.
Tamatanga is ideally placed for pre-theatre visits, city centre lunch or pre-train eats; midway between The Mailbox and New Street Station on Navigation St.
Wonder how it will do when Mr Kochar opens across the road at The Mailbox. And Mowgli @ Grand Central.
SURELY they’ll be the final Indian venues to open in this Brum snowball, please?! The bar is already set quite high, don’t you know. And Tama make a commendable addition to this great gastonomic city.
It’s not out of this world (that would be Zindiya, Moseley) but it could certainly serve a purpose and will be popular.
Speaking of that bar, other street food (and wider fare) of the Indian variety to seek out in Brum (in order I’d personally recommend):
Zindiya – the best out there in my eyes
Indian Brewery – I wrote words
Indian Streatery – also The Indian Rasoi, top guys
Hen & Chickens (not quite street food but my personal fave curry in the city and apparently a cracking fish pakora and mixed grill)
Raja Monkey – out of the city centre but worth popping along to Shirley for
Gateway to India (my dear pal Nosh highly recommends this place’s street food options)
STILL to come…
Mowgli Street Food- opening at Grand Central v. soon, by Nisha Katona
NRI at The Mailbox – opening soon by Michelin starred Atul Kochar, combining his love of British and Indian cuisine, “high-quality but affordable spiced dishes that draw inspiration from the chef’s travels around the globe” (Bains, Birmingham Mail)
*I dined during the soft opening week using the 50% discount on food offer promoted kindly and publicly by Tamatanga themselves.*