Tamatanga: First Impressions of the Vegan Menu

When a new place opens in Birmingham, my curiosity ensures I try it out ASAP. This is how I felt when Tamatanga opened up a few weeks ago and I have been able to try it twice already. On the two occasions, I tried different dishes off the vegan menu. Each occasion was vastly different. Both are shown in images and descriptions below. Of course, when a place is new there will be kinks they will need to sort out. So I am taking that into account and plan to revisit the eatery in a couple of months.

Whenever you go out for an 'Indian', there should be poppadoms. They should not be overly oily but crunchy, warm and occupied by tasty chutneys. That's exactly what we received. The best part was the chutneys. If you read my review of Umami, you will know of my love of them. I could write a thesis on it but I'll spare you. There was the mango, mint and onion. The mint was the best. As it was different and mixed in with coriander. I was imagining this on a salad or even a veggie burger. A great start.

I liked the idea of this Eating Kit. So hipster. So appealing to me. It contained cutlery and a tissue.

So there are 9 vegan options for mains, 5 vegan sides and 2 desserts on the vegan menu. This is pretty good going for an eatery in Birmingham City Centre. I went for two of the curry bowls as sides and got Tandoori Roti to go alongside it.

One of dishes I went for was the Bangin' Baigan. This was really tasty. So much depth of flavour, the right chunks of aubergine and a creaminess that I love of this vegetable. All topped with a little coriander. Just like my mama does. Overall, it was really banging. I would definitely have it again but it is at a hefty price of £5.25 for this side curry bowl, so that won't be too often.

The second of the side curry bowls was the Five Spice Aloo. The masala was different to the previous dish but that doesn't mean it wasn't as good. The potatoes had a little stickiness and the masala was just so good. I was so happy when I had enough left over for lunch the next day. Both of these dishes were beautiful, good portions for sides but I wish the price point wasn't so high for these vegan dishes. This one was £4.95 for the side portion and the mains portion was £9.95 and the baigan was around the same.

The Tandoori Roti was good and I was glad they were mini versions and there was two. But they should've been in something to ensure they didn't get cold. However, I eat slow so getting cold is probably inevitable haha. IBS problems! As the food is brought out as soon as it is done, the time between receiving my curry bowls and roti was vast. Meaning my curry bowls were slightly cooler. And then when I ordered more. I had finished and they still hadn't arrived. So we cancelled them. Wagamama does the same thing, as in they bring out dishes as soon as they are done, but they are more efficient. So it is possible of doing this well.

Halfway through eating the curry bowls, the Ragda Pattice was presented. I had forgotten I had ordered this by this point so I was pleasantly surprised. The dish was deep fried aloo tikki's that were coated in bread crumbs making them super crispy. And this was then accompanied by chana masala and tamarind sauce. So, you have crispy, an aloo soft centre, soft chickpeas and the tangy tamarind. This made a great combo! But again a little steep at £5.25 but normal for city centre prices. But we didn't mind, as we were taking advantage of the 50% off launch offer.

As you can see the first time I visited the eatery was a pleasure for my taste buds. The second time I visited with a few blogger friends and a few of our mums. Yep, a demanding and opinionated group. The majority of us went for the thali. All of us somewhat enjoyed it. But I found the dishes in the thali to have no depth of flavour. Some were presented to the table warm and a few were lukewarm. The rice was a good size and the roti was good too. Ting was with me and she had a valid point that there should be a dish that was a little spicy and my mum mentioned that there is normally a sweet dish on the thali. Both opinions I agree with. The one person who had one of the Curry Bowls loved it. Like I did the previous occasion.I think in future I would stick to one of them. 

Overall, Tamatanga is a great place but I can see why there have been mixed views of the place. I think it's all about the dish you choose. For me, the thali is a no-no but I would have a curry bowl again. But the service was accommodating both times.

Would I go back? Eventually

Why? Some great vegan options on the menu but prices and initial kinks need to be worked out. Hence why I'll be going back in a couple of months.

How was the service? Attentive and friendly but more training needed to learn the name of the dishes and the menu properly.

How did they cope with the vegan dietary requirement? A separate vegan menu, which makes it easy to order and they label it so when you order to ensure no cross-contamination.

What are the prices like? A little pricey but nothing out of the ordinary for Birmingham's city centre. Portion size is worth it and a good place for once in a while.

More information - Tamatanga website

Have you been? What did you think?

**All of this meal was paid for by me or my madre. My views are my own**

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