Leicester – Tamatanga

Although tempted to eat in a pub, we felt that we might have overdone that a bit this week. A slight lack of forward planning also meant that we hadn’t reserved anywhere, so we went with the Indian restaurant of Tamatanga which encourages walk-ins. They’re a small chain of three restaurants, the other two are in Birmingham and Nottingham.

The restaurant looked full when we arrived with just a few seats outside. The staff member at the entrance was engaging and helpful, saying that we could sit outside immediately or wait up to twenty minutes for a table. I asked if it was OK to wait and the staff member was very keen on that, with a few updates offered during our wait. We only had to wait twelve minutes before being taken to a table by a window, all very efficient. I actually think we were lucky with the table that we were given, as it was out of the way a bit, which made it quieter and I could watch people out of the window.

Incidentally, I felt a little for the barman who was making a cocktail by shaking it and the top flew off it and most of the cocktail went over him. It’s not ideal when people are watching, but he still smiled.

The menu, quite a range of different Indian food. Service was personable and conversational, especially given that the staff were busy and it’s a fast moving environment. There’s a similar set-up here to wagamama that service is quick and so they can turn over each table probably four times in an evening if guests don’t faff about. We were never rushed during our visit, but we only stayed for an hour in total including the wait for a table.

My only minor negative comment about the restaurant is that the craft beer menu is smaller than on the web-site, and then they didn’t have most of them. Anyway, there’s some attempt at craft beer so I’ll give them credit for that. As another side, I’m not sure why the restaurant only has one floor and a mezzanine for the toilets, it looks like they could add an extra floor if they wanted. Perhaps they prefer the more open space, which did have character to it. Or perhaps they don’t have a fortune to change the restaurant layout, but at least there might be an expansion option for the future as I suspect that this chain will continue to do well.

The food portion didn’t look that large at first, but it was much more filling than I thought. This is the chicken khurana, which had a suitably rich taste with numerous flavours. The sweet potato added texture and the chicken pieces were tender and moist. I’m never convinced about salad as it scares me, but it tasted as expected, with the rice again being a bigger portion than this photo suggests.

Prices are reasonable given the quality of the food and drink, especially given that this is a prime location and the rent can’t be cheap. One of the glasses we were given was a little dirty, but there were no other issues and the restaurant itself seemed very clean. The reviews are broadly positive, there are a few not happy with the noise, but this isn’t really designed to be a quiet and peaceful place. I’d quite happily return here or recommend it to others, with the option of just turning up working out for us.