Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tandoori Den - Camberwell - Indian Cuisine (Tandoor)

Venue: Tandoori Den
Address: 261-263 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, ph: 9813 2598
Parking: On Road
Opening Hours: Lunch Tues-Fri from 12 noon, Dinner Tues-Sun 6pm-10:30pm. Take-away menu available.
Price Range: $6-$18 Entree, $10-$15 main meals, $2-$13 side dishes and breads ($4 rice for two), $4-$5 dessert. Minimum charge of $20 per person on Friday and Saturday nights. BYO wine, $2 corkage per person.

I met a lovely group of people from my place of work (and I'm not just saying that because one of them was my boss) at the Tandoori Den in Camberwell and the food was so fantastic that we all ate far too much and practically rolled out of the restaurant.

On a chilly Wednesday night I parked my car on Riversdale Road and made my way around the corner at Camberwell Junction to the Tandoori Den with my boss. The last time we all had dinner out together as a team was just before Christmas so it was high time that we had some quality social time together without interruption from our clients.

The choice of restaurant was given to the newest member of our team as he is currently reliant on public transport. The tram he catches to work each day goes past this restaurant which had been recommended by a friend and, I was led to believe, it is also in The Age's Good Food Guide which boded well for a fabulous evening.

Having looked up the menu on the web (see the link at the top of the page) in the week or so beforehand there had been major discussions of the dishes on offer while people made up their minds which dishes they wanted to try. Some people made arrangements to share dishes so that they could try a number of different things. We had a Vegetarian with us also and she was well catered for. On the day, one of the team especially wore pants with an elasticised waistband in preparation for the feeding frenzy. (We all take our food pretty seriously.)

The favourite dish of the night was the Coconut Crab. The recipe for this is posted in the window of the restaurant and the team was emailed a copy of it by one of its more enthusiastic consumers. (If anyone is interested I can post it as a comment?) The crab is mixed/blended with various ingredients (coconut, ginger, chilli and onion) to a paste-like consistency and this creamy paste is dolloped into potato skins to serve. I tried the Garlic Tandoori Prawns for entree - beautiful.

For main meal I had the Palak Beef - beef pieces cooked with fresh creamed spinach - and a Garlic Naan with a shared side of Saffron Rice. Other dishes ordered included the Vegetarian Dahl Masala with a side of Raita and more Garlic Naan, Chicken Malbari and a Kashmiri Naan, Makhani Lamb, Dahl Gohst and a couple of other things I lost track of on our heavily loaded table.

The Garlic Naan was some of the best I have ever eaten. It was fresh, light, not overcooked, buttery and garlicky and, not wanting it to go to waste, I probably ate far more of it than I should have. It had been freshly prepared in the Tandoor oven - the chef made the bread and cooked it in front of us. The Palak Beef was melt-in-the-mouth, moist and tender meat surrounded by a fragrantly spicy spinach sauce. Mm! I couldn't finish it all but I gave it a very good shot.

Of course I then had no room for a dessert of my own but was able to taste a piece of someone else's Pistachio Kulfi. Having never tried a Kulfi before, I was intrigued. Kulfi is a type of ice-cream but made with coconut milk/cream (I think) and the Pistachio version has crushed pistachio nuts while the Mango Kulfi has blended mango as the flavouring. (If there are any other traditional flavours, please feel free to let me know - I'm definitely interested.)

I was informed that the Pistachio Kulfi was not of a fabulous standard by some of the others at the table and the following week one of the team brought some in that they had made at home to their own recipe which was, I agreed, better than the one offered by the restaurant. The day after the Pistachio some Mango Kulfi also appeared at work and someone else had been inspired to cook some pappadums in the microwave. (I told you we take our food seriously.)

We all had an excellent dinner and enjoyed the evening immensely. The wait staff were attentive, the portions generous, the food amazing and the company was just lovely. It lived up to and exceeded our expectations. My only (minor) complaint is that the bathrooms were in need of a little fixing up - I like a cubicle door to close and lock easily - and if/when that happens they get five out of five. For now, though...

Four and three-quarters out of five Bollywood starlets.

Reviewed by Riss.

1 comment:

Husky Nutmeg said...

That's good to know. Probably good for the the new guy as well. Fancy throwing that kind of responsibililty on him. 'We are serious about our food, Son. Choose well, or we won't be liking you...' ;0)