Despite the driving distance – or maybe, because it gives you a chance to lose your inner-city mindset – it’s always a pleasure to return to Urban Tadka in Terrey Hills.
This destination Indian restaurant, tucked inside a leafy business park with easy off-street parking, has lured me back with a new menu. The brief this time was to add a bit more gravitas to the menu, befitting of a restaurant of this calibre.
Their usual penchant for smoking is now confined to cocktails, with a Smoked Southside ($17) poured at the table from a crystal decanter. In their usual tradition of being a bit ‘extra’ the mauve Ink Gin concoction has a massive savoury, salty smoke lick, with a big mid-palate that makes it a truly lovely drink. The same Northern Rivers gin is used in my Inkucumber ($15) against a simpler blend of lime, tonic, cucumber and ice, which makes for a great cuisine match.
Mini Pappadums with Three-Way Dips ($10.50) will see you through the decision-making process. While we get eye-catching martini-glass treatment, it’s what’s inside them that counts. It's won by the textural raw unripe mango chutney, aam chunda chutney, from the Gujarat region on India’s West Coast, where co-owner Inder Dua is from.
It’s a great match to Bhatti Da Burgh Tikka ($16.90) which sees four, well-charred and juicy spice-marinated thigh fillets speared onto a skewer with a hot long red chilli.
It’s a big serve that four people could share fine, though I was glad we weren’t dining as a foursome when the Za'atar Jhinga Brassica Botrytis ($22.90) arrived, because I definitely wanted to eat a second big, meaty prawn. They are presented on cauliflower puree that gives the crustaceans an earthy edge against an intriguing rumble of spice.
Urban Tadka’s primo plating continues into a vegetarian Kasundi Paneer ($16.90) entrée. Under a tangle of chilli threads and flash-fried curry leaves you’ll find four golden slabs of chalky cottage cheese, with a lovely, round taste of mustard seeds, fennel and spicy spuds.
Demonstrating the versatility of Indian cuisine, Lobster Lasuni Teekha ($29.90) sees hunks of deep-fried crustacean dripping in spicy saucy. Eaten wrapped up in crisp iceberg lettuce, this makes a great hot-weather option, especially if you happen to be dining during Sydney’s summer heat wave. My chosen match - on-tap Kingfisher ($16/590ml) served in a glass tiki mug pulls out more flavour and effervescence from the quaffing, cuisine-appropriate beer.
As we also eat with our eyes, it’s nice to see the care and attention invested into vegetarian mains like Aloo Bhindi ($23.90). Taken up to eye-level on a metal stand, this enjoyable dish teams chat potatoes and diced onions with okra that’s been cooked to a point where it defies by dining companion’s usual hatred of its (sometimes slimy) texture.
In terms of carbs, there’s fluffy, well-separated Basmati Rice ($2.50/person) or a range of flatbreads.
Branching beyond the ubiquitous ugly basket, our platter of bread sees a light not doughy Lasuni Naan ($4) joined by a crisp, flaky butter infused wholemeal Laccha Paratha ($4.00).
Either bread is delicious dipped into the coconut-rich gravy of the Mumbai Junglee Beef ($34.90). The grain-fed eye-fillet is so tender, it’s able to be cut with a spoon into long threads that work well to deliver the creamy sauce to your lips. Balls of pumpkin are a sweet surprise, with slivered almonds and grated coconut adding some texture to the well-plated curry.
I’m a sucker for a chicken curry, and Nukkad Murgh ($26.90) delivers the goods, with a nice green chilli bite and a round, tomato-rich flavour gravy that means it eats well on rice.
I’m inclined to say Urban Tadka’s Indian Cuisine 2.0 menu is even better than the original.
NOTE: You can see a previous review for this restaurant back HERE.
321 Mona Vale Road, Terrey Hills
Ph: (02) 9986 1040