Indian food in Australia, as a general, seems to have become a fast food that is merely reminiscent of the original. Not at Tandoori Flames. The food here is anything but fast food. Having personally been to India and tasted the cuisine at the source, I have always found that the Western version is usually a mere shadow of its former glory. Enter Tandoori Flames. My dining experience at Tandoori Flames has trumped all other Indian food, and is hands down the best Indian food I have eaten.
When I spoke to the owner, he said they had been opened for four and a half years and that their dishes were inspired from various styles and regions in India. Inside the restaurant, there is a slightly vintage, grungy style which is not at all typical of Indian restaurants.
Continue to the next pages for Food & Entertainment at Tandoori Flames.
On the owner's recommendation, we ordered a Tandoori Mixed Grill Platter as a starter. Minutes later, a heavily laden platter still hissing and steaming on a grill plate landed before us, containing a collection of tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, lamb chops and some kind of Indian kebab.
The tandoori lamb in particular is unforgettably delectable. Complete with tamarind and mint chutney sauces for dipping, my first impression of the food had set the bar quite high for the rest of the meal.
For the main, my husband and I decided to pick one 'safe' dish: Butter Chicken and one experimental dish: Goat Curry. I was excited and also slightly apprehensive about the goat curry, having never eaten goat in my life. The curry is made in a traditional Bhunao style, where the meat is cooked in its own juices. It turned out to be one of the nicest Indian curries I have eaten to date. The Butter Chicken was also top quality and was ideal with the colourful Saffron Rice that I ordered with it.
Tandoori Flames have carefully matched their wine list to their constantly evolving menu. The French white I had with my meal was an excellent example of their selection perfection. Delightfully light, it served as a sublime accompaniment to the meal.
The accompanying Garlic Basil Naan was a delicious twist on the usual Naan breads I have had, and was a tasty addition to the meal.
At this point, having eaten almost to the point of bursting, my husband insisted we try the dessert. He already had his heart set on Mango Kulfi and Gulab Jamun so I consented. Now I have tried 'Gulab Jamun' on a number of occasions. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is basically a fried doughnut soaked in sugar syrup flavoured with cardamom.
In my past experiences with Gulab Jamun it was usually gluggy, dense and sickeningly sweet and when my husband ordered it at Tandoori Flames, I dubiously awaited its arrival. The Gulab Jumun that arrived before us was nothing like my previous experiences. It was fluffy, light and luxuriously coated in delicately flavoured syrup. I nearly had to restrain my husband from ordering a second helping. The Mango Kulfi (think love-child of ice-cream & sorbet) was unique with a delicate but authentic Indian flavour that I decided was cardamom.
Every dish has such authentic flavour, but not at all overpowering the way some Indian food can be.
The Entertainment – Belly Dancer Extravaganza
Every Saturday night around 8pm at Tandoori Flames you will find a belly dancer shaking it left, right and centre. Having never seen a belly dance performance live, I made sure my booking was around this time and it was well worth the effort.
When the belly dancer erupted on the scene, I felt as if I had fallen straight into a Bollywood movie. Completed with fan-like wings, she danced her way around the entire restaurant, and even managed to coerce a few of the patrons to have a dance with her, although some of them didn't seem to need much persuasion. It was all very tasteful and highly entertaining. Being somewhat of a stick insect on the dance floor myself, I will forever remain in awe at how one small person can move their body that quickly and in so many ways all at once.
Learning the Moves
A warm and friendly family atmosphere, Tandoori Flames almost gave me the feeling that I was at a wedding reception for a dear friend or family member. Children are not hushed away in the corner; there is a generous dance floor central to the room where a number of little imps frolicked the night away, but there is still enough room for the quiet couple in the corner staring into each other's eyes, to not feel disturbed.
Capable of seating up to 180 people, why not hire out Tandoori Flames for your next function? You won't be disappointed.
Tandoori Flames is undoubtedly on the forefront of a new kind of Indian restaurant in Australia. Dinner there changed my perceptions of Indian food in Australia from fast food, to a cultural dining experience I would return for without hesitation. Suffice to say, I know where I will be getting my Indian from now on.