In the middle of sleepy Terrey Hills lies a hidden gem. Off the beaten track and surrounded by bushland, Urban Tadka isn’t just somewhere you stumble across. You have to know where to go. And you definitely don’t come here for stock standard Indian fare.
If you go at night, you’ll be greeted with thousands of twinkling fairy lights. During the day, you’ll see lush green grass and stylish lawn accessories. Both will lead you down a paved path, past an impressive graffiti-style painting and into a stylish restaurant.
With waitstaff as attentive and engaging as this, you can’t help but feel immediately welcome with a big embrace. Beautiful, complex smells drift our way from the kitchen, and we’re drooling before we even sit down.
Right away we’re offered a cocktail. This is my kind of place.
The menu is a melting pot of recipes from all over India, representing and celebrating the diversity of this colourful country.
Crispy papadums and dips start us on our journey, and what follows is nothing short of superb. Our entrées are the perfect way to tantalise our tastebuds and get us excited for what’s to come. The Kurkuri Chat ($12.90) are delightful mix of soft and salty, sweet and tangy, as are the Aaloo Ki Chalu Tikki ($13.90).
Next was tandoori chicken like you’ve never had – succulent, zingy, creamy and delicious! That’s the Bukni Mirch Ka Mala Tikka ($15.90), served beautifully in an upright lettuce leaf. Another dish with beautiful presentation is the Hayali Paneer Shashlik ($14.90), which is smokey roasted cubes of cottage cheese on a plate of vibrant beetroot splash.
Even though we feel like we’ve already eating like royalty, out come the curries. We get a little taste of 4: Samundari Prawn Malabar ($33.90); Do Piaza Bhindi ($22.90); Scallops Mumbai Tadka ($32.90) and Kesari Lamb Sufiyana ($28.90). Of course, they came accompanied by fluffy naan bread, perfect for dipping in leftover sauce.
You can have your food as spicy or as mild as you like it – just make sure you talk to your waiter at the beginning of your meal, otherwise you might end up ordering a lassi or two to calm your tastebuds!
Of the curries, the lamb was the standout. The meat was tender and soft and the sauce was creamy and complex. Despite being quite full, I kept going back for more. The sauce that was poured over the prawn curry was also absolutely delicious, especially when soaked up with some garlic naan.
Top tip: keep an eye out for delicious barbecued lychees throughout the dishes. They burst in the mouth and give a spectacular sweetness.
But all of this aside, Urban Tadka’s biggest achievement has to be making me a fan of Indian desserts. In the middle of our platter was a glistening Bailey’s Orange & Praline Tart ($16.90) surrounded by warm dumplings doused in a sweetly spiced syrup. Not only did I enjoy them, but I wanted more! The syrup was the perfect balance without the cardamom overpowering the other flavours. A delightful way to end a delicious meal.
Urban Tadka is the height of modern Indian cuisine. The cooking is sophisticated, and the kitchen’s knowledge of flavours and spice is highly impressive. It’s definitely worth the drive.
(02) 9986 1040
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