Muddy Eats: Tamatanga
Like your Indian food, fresh, flavoursome and fast? Tamatanga is the perfect place for you.
It’s pretty hard to miss the bright signage that spells out Tamatanga in Shires Lane. The word, which means ‘do what needs to be done’ is the name of the city’s newest restaurant and in this case what needs to be done is eat and drink – two things that come pretty easy to me *cough*.
As part of a small chain of restaurants, Tamatanga’s original eatery opened in Nottingham eleven years ago and its second branch opened in Birmingham two years ago. The owners have made sure they’ve paced themselves with each opening, ensuring they found the right spot and opened at the right time.
The Leicester branch is slap bang in the middle of the city – a perfect spot to tempt all those hungry shoppers.
I absolutely loved the vibe of this place, from the moment I spotted it’s crazy bright neon orange seating area and once inside, it didn’t let down.
From massive wall murals to bright lighting, the decor really lures you in – it’s bright, colourful and fun, urban and trendy with an industrial edge – communal benches, exposed brick work, hanging industrial lighting and lots of artificial greenery.
As for the idea behind the restaurant, think Wagamama or Turtle Bay but Indian – menus sitting on the tables ready for you to peruse, cutlery comes pre-packed in paper envelopes (nice touch) and of course it’s massively family-friendly – kids get plastic cutlery, colouring pens and menus to scribble on and of course their own menu.
Just as you’re soaking in the vibe, your waiters are ready to explain how things work and take your order – service is fast here; food comes before you know it – freshly prepared and full of flavour – no nasties, no shortcuts and they even grind their own spices by hand.
From the small plates menu, we ordered the amritsari fish – bite size pieces of fried fish which were tasty but could have done with a slight tangy chutney as opposed to the garlic one it was served with. The gun powder paneer was perfect and very generous – chunky slices of Indian cheese in a tasty marinade as for the bang bang chicken – these were the bomb (according to Mr Muddy).
For mains, Mr Muddy picked the garlic chilli chicken that promised a kick – unfortunately not enough for Mr Muddy – and I went for the Goan fish curry with coconut sauce, tamarind and chillies.
The menu also features Indian wraps (kathi rolls), biryani bowls, and traditional thalis too as well as prawn tempura, seekh kebab and salad bowls hearty, filling and packed with protein drizzled with tamarind vinaigrette and topped off with a crunchy herb naan (I’ll be trying that next time) and don’t miss their tasty Tamatanga chips.
As for curries, you can expect the regulars like chicken tikka masala and butter chicken plus more unusual ones like and their very own chicken khurana – marinate chicken pieces cooked with sweet potato and flavoured with curry leaves.
Desserts range from ice creams, sorbet and fudge cake to more traditional ones like pistachio kulfi, gulab jamun (think small sponge balls like doughnut served in a syrup and vanilla ice cream and rasmalia (dumplings flavoured with cardamom).
The Muddy Verdict:
Good for: Big parties, families and friends who like to share. Service is fast – we were in and out in just over an hour. Those who appreciate fun and lively decor and service. They also have a great gluten free and vegan menu. Bring the kids too – their menu even feature fish and chips and chicken goujons if they don’t like Indian food.
Not for: Those that prefer elevated Indian food or a fine dining experience or those that like to take their time enjoying food and linger after a curry.
Cost: Small plates start from £4.95, curries starts from £11.95, side dishes from £2.95 the thali is £19.95. Kids menu costs £1.95 for poppadums, £5.95 for mains and £2.45 for dessert.
Tamatanga, Highcross, 1 Shires Lane, Leicester LE1 4AN