A couple of weeks ago I fancied a cheap night out that involved some form of curry. We were pretty last minute but managed to get a table at Tamatanga in the Cornerhouse. I’d not been here since I was a student which was many years ago so I didn’t really know what to expect – I remember the food was good and that was about it.
First Impressions of Tamatanga
Before we even set foot in the door I had alarm bells, they told us we had a table booking but we had to be out within an hour as they needed the table for somebody else. I don’t like this and I almost thought about cancelling, way to kick your potential customers in the teeth “sorry, you can come and give us money but you need to leave as soon as you have” – is essentially the message I get from that. Needless to say, I didn’t cancel and tried to put this reservation to one side.
As soon as we walked in the first thing I noticed was that they’ve removed the benches they used to have and replaced them with individual seats and tables. It used to be a bit like Wagamama with the shared tables. I was glad to see this had been removed and it was more of a restaurant feel now, much more up my street.
As you walk in there’s a small podium to announce yourself and be shown to your seat, there’s also benches around this area to take a seat and wait for a table or pick up an order (Deliveroo anyone?) As you walk in it’s in a “U” shape with back to back booths in the centre, the bar at the back and tables all around the outside, we were sat on one of the central booths. On the table there’s a place setting with a menu, wrapped up cutlery and a place mat, I thought it was pretty cool!
We ordered four beers as soon as we sat down, the waitress told us this would be Cobra which we said was fine. It took well over 15 minutes for us to actually receive them. In the meantime we had opened the menu and started to look for something to eat…that’s when the price of these beers caught my eye, they were £6.55! When they arrived they were large glasses – just over a pint – but I couldn’t help feeling absolutely ripped off. £6.55! It took a further 10 minutes for a waitress to come back over and take our food order.
When we got over the shock we started looking at what to eat, we all opted for starters of onion bhajis (two portions) to share. They were placed in the centre of the table but we weren’t given any side plates, just the ones that they came one. This meant we had to cut the pieces up one at a time and then quickly shove it into our mouths. It was really difficult to flag down any staff members to ask for plates plus, combined with the fact it took 15 minutes to get our drinks we weren’t hopefully so dutifully ate the starters before they got cold.
For mains we all went for the Tamatanga Thali deal. The deal is value for money, it’s a choice of 2 curries, salad, poppadums, chutney, two veg dishes, deal of the day raita, rice, naan for £15.45. Considering individual curries are priced at around a tenner it’s a great way to try a little bit more.
For our mains the table all went a little different, my two options were:
“Juicy and tender pieces of lamb are, quite literally, tossed around in a karahi pan with peppers, tomatoes and coriander seeds. Punchy.”
“Pieces of paneer are cooked with vibrant spinach greens and garlic resulting in a flavoursome and comforting dish.”
On the table there was also a section of:
Delhi lamb curry
“Aromatic lamb rogan josh cooked just like they do on the back streets of Delhi, full of soul, heart and deep flavour.”
Balchap prawn curry
“A bit less fiery than the xacuti but still infused with beach shack vibes, this Goan style prawn curry is made with whole coriander and dry roasted red chillies in a coconut laced sauce.”
Homestyle chicken curry
“Tender thigh meat cooked lovingly just the way grandpa would make it. This is every day Indian food at its very best.”
Garlic chilli chicken (hot)
“Chicken thigh pieces cooked with crushed garlic and green chillies. It’s got a good kick this one.”
Railway cabin lamb (hot)
“A traditional recipe served in the first class railway cabins of India. Lamb is cooked on a slow fire with garlic, whole red chillies and curry leaves, resulting in a spicy, rich lamb curry.”
None of us had a curry we didn’t enjoy, the dishes were really good. The time for these to come out was reasonable too so the service seemed to pick up once food was involved. There’s was only one person on the table who managed to finish the whole platter, the rest of us really struggled. Each curry was flavourful, had a large amount of meat/potatoes and was really good. I genuinely have no complaints about the food their producing.
It wasn’t great, online or offline. When I found out about the price of beer I posted a tweet (I’m one of those) and Tamatanga came back with an answer that essentially said “other people do it so why shouldn’t we?”
In the restaurant I found it incredibly frustrating with how long it took to get any kind of service, including ordering, getting drinks and getting the bill. They were busy, don’t get me wrong, but there were times when the staff were all stood crowding around the till talking about the weekend (genuinely, not an exaggeration). When the staff were at the table they were fine, friendly and did a good job, it was getting them there that was the issue.
tamatanga rating: 5/10
£24.15 pp/£96.60 in total for starters, mains and a drink each.
I won’t be rushing to go back. I feel like they’re just there to make money and not to look after their customers. Yes, it’s a nice atmosphere and good food but I would much rather spend my £24 on a venue that appreciates me and wants me to be there, without a time limit and is happy to show me a good time.
Recommended for: people who want to be in and out and have money to spare
Not recommended for: posh diners, service-orientated people, large groups, date night
Why not try: the curry deal
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Love for you all x