Tandoori Den

261 Camberwell Road, Camberwell 3124
Date visited: 25th October 2012

A few years ago, AS was brought to Tandoori Den by some of her friends who were frequent customers there.  AS works close to where we stay, so she suggested heading over there after work for dinner last night.  Now we don't usually have much Indian food at all, so naturally I was excited to try Tandoori Den.

It was a weeknight so the restaurant was only three quarters full and we got a seat immediately.  I love the decor - especially the shapes of light reflected off the ceiling by the beautiful dangling lanterns.  The space was small and cosy without being cramped.

Sitar stuck on the wall
Our papadam was placed on our table with our menus as soon as we sat down.  Papadam are thin, crisp crackers that are eaten as an appetiser or to accompany meals.  It can be eaten with condiments, chutney or other toppings.
I had a mango lassi, which was a cooling homemade yoghurt drink.  It was a beautiful drink, with the richness of mango and a hint of tangy yoghurt.  They had it in other flavours too including natural, passionfruit and rose.
Mango lassi $4.90
 For our entree, we had the Boneless Tandoori Chicken (4 pieces).
Tandoori chicken $14.50
The Tandoori chicken is roasted chicken prepared with yoghurt and spices and cooked in a tandoor, which is a barrel shaped clay oven.  According to Tandoori Den, the meats are marinated for 24-48 hours before cooking and must be skinless, lean and of good quality.  These chicken thighs were boneless, juicy, tender and crisp at the corners.  Yum.

We chose four things for our mains.  Sorry, photos aren't great as it was dark and it was a little while between the entree and main, so we were all starving and I couldn't make everyone wait for me to take photos from every angle, with flash and without etc etc...
We had the Lamb Korma, which was lamb pieces cooked 'Mogul' style in rich creamy sauce.  The lamb was boneless and tender - you could tear it apart with your fork.  There was only a mild heat and it wasn't overly salty.

Lamb korma $18.90

We also had their Butter Chicken, which was Tandoori chicken cooked in a sauce with tomato, butter, cream and mild spices.  Thinking back, we actually could have done without either the Butter Chicken or the Tandoori Chicken entree - we didn't notice the Butter Chicken used Tandoori chicken as well, so they tasted similar except the former had sauce.  I saw a lot of other people commented that the Butter Chicken tasted particularly tomato-ish, but we didn't encounter that.  Although we enjoyed both chicken dishes, we should have chosen a beef dish instead.
Butter chicken $18.90
We had the Garlic Naan, which was a baked flatbread served hot.  It was really delicious, fluffy and crispy in some areas.

Garlic Naan $3.50
We had to have a rice dish, so we chose the Chicken Biriyani, which was Basmati rice cooked with chicken and garnished with nuts.  The seasoning was mild and not overly spicy.  You can't tell from the photo, but there were actually huge pieces of chicken (not small shreds or slices, like whole chicken pieces) under the rice.  We hadn't expected them to be this generous, so we had a bit of a chicken overload LOL.  We should have gone with one of the plain rice to mop up the sauces.  
Chicken Biriyani $18.90
During our meal, I noticed a weird bony spur/ ganglion on my hand and proceeded to show it to MerlinFan (there is a point to this story, I swear), who made a horrible disgusted face.  Within seconds, one of the attentive waiters rushed to our table and asked if everything was all right?  LOL.  I don't know if it was a coincidence that he just happened to pop by or if he thought MerlinFan's expression was one of not liking the food... either way, sorry, it was nothing to do with the food!

We were so full after dinner, but AS wanted to try their desserts.  She chose the Gulab Jammun.  The waiter kindly told us there was only two dumplings per serving but we said it was fine cos we were too full =P
Gulab Jammun $5.90
So cute!  The milk dumplings were very reminiscent of doughnuts, served warm in a sweet rose flavoured syrup.  Tasted really yummy too.

AS also had their Masala Chai which was Indian tea with milk.  
Masala Chai $4.00
Staff were friendly and efficient, there wasn't anything to complain about, really.  Servings may look small but don't be deceived - the cuisine is rich and creamy so I think the portion sizes are warranted.  Admittedly I don't usually have Indian food so I can't pretend to be able to judge the authenticity of the cuisine, only that we all enjoyed ourselves and our meal.  A nice place to pop by for refreshing lassi, delicious juicy meats and great naan.

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