January 16th, 2007

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Tandoori Palace

Tandoori Palace has been on Oxford Street for as long as I can remember, though the menu has certainly changed since the last time I chose to dine here. The new menu I would probably term Indian fusion cuisine, and it contains a lot of reasons to give this restaurant a go, particularly if you have a tendancy to believe 'curry is curry'. I would argue 'not necessarily' in the case of this restaurant.

The most successful fusion dish we had was an entree called Eggplant Steak, which combined Indian sauces, with a less Indian method of cooking to make a tasty steak of eggplant, doused in a mint/yoghurt style sauce. We also enjoyed a reasonably traditional (probably South Indian) Ginger Mint Octopus, sizzling on a platter with onions and capsicums. Our least successful entree was a Duck Roll, which was served deep fried with chewy, bland duck and cabbage inside the roll, and a tomato and coriander chutney to dip it in. After eating this entree, I was glad the server had warned me against the Orange Masala Duck (albeit probably for the wrong reasons - he cited it as being non-traditional, and thus bad).

For our mains we enjoyed a Chicken Pistachio Curry the most. It was similar to a Butter Chicken, though greener, with the dominant flavour being pistachios. The nuts served to thicken the sauce, which was indeed the best part. The chicken seemed to be all large chunks of breast meat, which were rather bland.

The other interesting main was a Lamb Apple Korma, which was another fusion dish. Whilst I liked aspects of this dish (particularly never having had it before), I am not entirely convinced it was a hundred percent successful. In my opinion, the weakest main we ordered was a piece of Tandoori Salmon, served in a similar way to Tandoori Chicken - simply on a plate, with a salad garnish. The flavour of the salmon was very dominant, and I am not convinced that it matched the tandoori very well.

In terms of sides, we had pappadums, raita, a Plain Naan and a Peshwari Naan. The Peshwari Naan was the standout - a sweet concoction of coconut, limited sultanas, and milky goodness - I would return simply to sample this textural and flavourful pleasure again.

The prices were reasonable, the service attentive and eager to please, and the new fitout was not in any way reminiscent of any Indian restaurant I have ever dined it. Contemporary colours, nice lighting, and a sexy bar helped make it a pleasurable place to dine. In terms of prices, we paid about $40 per head, including one alcoholic beverage each, and corkage for three people. This represents great value for the Oxford Street area, and reasonable value I would hazard in terms of most Indian restaurants, bar suburban gems.

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