Tamatanga, Navigation Street, Birmingham
Amongst the recent explosion of Indian ‘street’ food joints, we visit Tamatanga in Birmingham’s city centre. First opened in Nottingham, a branch has now popped up in Birmingham and has been warmly welcomed by locals.
Tamatanga is situated just round the corner from John Bright Street in the city centre. A stone’s throw from New Street station, it’s a great option for shoppers and visitors into the city. There is no street parking near the restaurant, but a multi storey car park is located right over the road and the Bull Ring car park is a 5 minute walk away.
Being in the city centre the public transport links are excellent, with the midland metro tram stop close by.
Large windows allow light to flood into the airy space. Bright colours on the chairs and walls make the whole area feel warm even though it is a fairly large space with plenty of room between tables.
Tamatanga easily accommodated our large group booking.
A warm and friendly welcome, service was prompt throughout, however we had to attract the attention of staff on a couple of occasions for drinks. Otherwise staff were great and informative. The food all came out together which was great as no one was waiting with an empty plate in front of them. Our large party didn’t seem to phase the staff.
We visited at midday on a Sunday and there wasn’t many other diners in to begin with, but the restaurant slowly filled up and the vibe was a relaxed one. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the food and drink.
Being an Indian, inevitably there is an Indian beer availible on draught, Cobra, which was a refreshing beer, not the greatest pint of cobra we’ve had, we felt that it was ever so slightly flat. This unfortunately is the only draught option, but they have craft beers in the fridge.
Non drinkers are well catered for, just ask for no spirits to be added to a cocktail from the extensive and interesting list. The mango & chilli mojito being a particulary different but tasty drink to wash down the food with. As well as cocktails, plain and mango lassi is on the menu which were enjoyed by our group.
Now onto the food.
What can we say about the Tamatanga chips, probably the best chips we’ve had anywhere. Seriously, they are that good.
Perfectly thin, crispy, fluffly in the middle chips, generously sprinkled with dried chillis, black salt and coriander. A bowl of chips disappeared pretty quickly, a great snack, you just have to order these bad boys.
Now the chaat here is also something you have to order. The papdi chaat is a classic Indian street food snack. Here it is whole wheat crisp, mint chutney & sweetened yogurt topped with blueberries and tamarind chutney. Fresh, moreish and some of the best chaat I’ve had this side of India.
For main we order the paneer makhani. It arrives just as it should be, big firm chunks of paneer, in a mild, creamy tomato sauce. Paneer makhani should never be chilli and this dish lives up to what we were looking forward to. Each main comes along with 2 plain naan breads, which you can swap for any other naan on the menu for £1 extra. I tried a chilli cheese naan which was packed full of cheese and fresh green chilli. First few bites were heavenly, but together with the quite generous portion of paneer makhani I started to struggle to finish the meal. The naans which are small in circumference but quite thick, which makes them a little too heavy along with a curry in our opinion.
I would suggest sharing a large main with 2 naans between 2 people, this would be adequate after the chips & chaat which I know you will definitely try.
Along with the main we tried a side of the five spice aloo. This was a let down to the meal. We were looking for a spicy potato side dish with the mild paneer makhani but it fell short of the mark. It was cooked well enough, but just wasn’t spicy or flavourful enough.
The whole restaurant was spotless. Bathrooms were well kept and the entire premises just seemed to be well looked after. No issues as far as we could tell on our visit.
Overall 8.2 out of 10
Tamatanga is destination we will definetly be heading back to again. The central location makes it a good option for when shopping in Birmingham, even if it’s just to pop in for the chaat starter and those amazing Tamatanga chilli chips.