Generations of folks who have lived, studied and played around Newtown have a special place in their heart for Tamana's Indian on King Street. Tamana's is best known for a quick "3 curries on rice" from the bain-marie, but they also have some thali, chaat and dosa dishes worthy of investigation.
Tamana's is one of those places that for us, it has just always been in existence. In fact, it opened in 1991, the year Alison first moved to Newtown, so we kind of share our inner western birthday together.
Not a lot has changed in it's style of serving a good selection of curries (we counted at least 40 different ones in the bain maries) with side orders of samosas and naan breads. Recently they have introduced Thali and other made to order snacks, perhaps in response to the opening of the excellent Kammadhenu up the road. It's what makes us come back after so long between visits.
Chaat are like little tasty roadside snacks, they make a good plate of things to share with your meal and the selection is wide. They seem to be all vegetarian as well, some gluten free too.
We order a vegetarian Thali ($15.90). The thali provides lots of small tastes but not quite enough of each one, and not a lot of rice. Like a frustrating Indian degustation. It's fun but the three-dishes-on-rice is probably better value.
Palak Patta Chaat $7.50 - this wasn't what we thought we ordered but it was amazing.
Crispy spinach crisps smothered with yoghurt and sweet sauce. Would be a perfect side to a really hot curry.
Bhelpuri - 'rice bubbles, exotic assorted crispies and peanuts mixed with a tangy sauce' - $7.50. We loved this too: it's sweet and crunchy, an excellent side dish.
We found the rice bubbles, or murmura, down the road at Fiji Market.
Keema dosa - a long flat bread filled with minced lamb and cheese - $10.90. An excellent hangover cure.
There's nothing wrong with a good old three curries on rice. We reckon the vegetarian stuff is the best, though Alison's brother would walk from Woy Woy for Tamana's butter chicken. Mango and Rose Lassi's behind.
Tamanas is at 195 King Street Newtown - phone 9519 2035 - www.tamanas.com.au
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