Eight years is how long Urban Tadka has been operation up in Terrey Hills. Only 10-15min from my home and only a couple of years ago listed as the best Indian Restaurant in Australia and I hear about it less than a month ago for the first time. Worst food critic ever! It is with thanks to the lovely people at Australian Good Food Guide that I discovered the oasis that is Urban Tadka, they invited me to dine and off I went with foodie sister (and chef) Tammi from Tea for Tammi.
URBAN TADKA LOCATION AND VENUE:
To get there the best bet is to follow Google maps to the word, when she says turn, turn! I got it but Tammi missed it. If you go past it takes a while to get back as you have to drive down Mona Vale Road for a long time, turn back and drive even further in the other direction and do it again. When you see signs for the big Nursery and The Fish Works, it’s one of the next driveways.
Terrey Hills is the closest to rural in the Sydney Metropolitan area as you will get. It is basically across the road from high suburbia but it is big blocks of land, farms, horses and a lot of nurseries. This suited the brainchild venue of Dimpy Singh, Mandeep Rana and Inder Dua (newer to the team). The venue is HUGE. It is located on a huge block of land and has a massive restaurant and a private functions room that can spill outside to a large outdoor area with bar. The venue fit-out cost close to $2mil and would not have been possible if it weren’t for families coming together to create the vision.
It appears that no expense was spared in creating said vision. There is Indonesian woodwork, tables custom made from China and a lot of furniture and fittings from India. Rope lights with vintage filament globes and beautiful long bladed wooden fans spot the roof and their Mission Statement stole my heart.
This is a bad place for a diet… We cook for a city that loves to eat…!!!
And cook for a city they do. While their restaurant is a Northern Beaches favourite (as all my friends keep telling me on Facebook) they are also one of the largest Indian caterers in the country. If you have been to a traditional Indian wedding in Sydney chances are you have already eat Urban Tadka food. They cater to nearly every five star hotel in Sydney and most function centres. If a venue cannot cook for Indian function requirements Urban Tadka is brought in. They cater to a wedding a week or more while also managing the restaurant. As such their team of staff is vast, it can split into three teams to cater to multiple events and the restaurant and the management and logistics alone would drive me bonkers.
The menu is titled in traditional home country language with the explanations in English. The venue is quite large and their vegetarian section will have veggoes in delight. The food is a combination of traditional Indian cuisine that is plated in a very modern approach with the remainder being the Indian food Aussies would be used to, as in your Tikka, Butter Chicken and so on, just don’t expect the tikka to be fluro orange. For our visit the venue chose all meals and went more the traditional approach. Nearly everything we ate I had never had before. A lot of the spice combinations and flavours were new to my palate.
DRINKS AND STARTERS:
I kicked off with a Lychee Martini and as poor Tammi is allergic to alcohol (no word of a lie, she loses her sight – probably where blind drunk came from) she tried a couple of the Lassi concoctions. A mango lassi to commence and a Masala Lassi aka a Chaas, t is less lassi and more water and apparently “the thirst quencher of every Indian.” I preferred the sweeter lassi on taste but Tammi leaned to the salted Chaas. Both of these came with a pistachio crusted rim and my second drink was a Passionfruit Margarita. Not very Indian but YUMMY.
Our starters were the delightfully rainbow-like Colourful Mini Fryums which were venue served with three sides; Beetroot Raita, Housemade Salsa and Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad. It was such a wonderful and colourful start to the meal. The Beetroot Raita was the stand out for me because it was sooooooo pink. Dipping the green fryum into the beetroot raita was a rainbow in itself.
ENTREES AND BREADS:
The bread game is strong at Urban Tadka and the naan they make is on another level. You can actually order a “Die Hard Bread Craver’s Exclusive Bread Basket” for your table. Just do it!! We tried the plain naan and the Fancy Naan – I have no idea what it means but the description was….Sukhi Methi Laccha Parantha, Ajawaini Naan and it was delicious!
Dimpy and Inder had the kitchen put together a sampler platter of three entrees and they were so beautifully presented and again so colourful.
They were all delightful. The potato patties won for me. I loved the crispier outer shell and softer insides. The cottage cheese cubes were something very new to me, I just wished we had more to truly get into them and the croquets were moorish.
MY FAVOURITE DISH – THE PRESENTATION WAS OFF THE CHARTS:
But that wasn’t the end of the entrees – next came out my favourite dish from the meal, the presentation truly added to the wonder and delight.
The skewers came with a selection of varying sauces to mix and match and try with each of the meats. This interactive meal was superb. The meats were all cooked super tender. The lamb cutlets won for me as best of the dish followed by the meat in a meat sausage haha. They need to make this smaller sampler for two a permanent menu item because it is phenomenal.
The mains section of the menu is huge with sections broke up into proteins and vegetarian. Again all was selected for us. The first was a smoked filled cloche dish. I love these presented meals and the effect of the cloche being lifted as the smell sense is bombarded.
The chicken was a little too far on the dry side sadly but the flavours were nice. It takes us a while to photograph the dishes so I hope our over resting didn’t dry it out. I have seen pictures from Urban Tadka where they make a cloche dish with a lobster in it – that will be my first choice on my return visit because LOBSTER is heaven :).
I enjoyed this dish because I love scallops. The lychees looked so similar to the scallops that my first scallop I thought something was wrong with it until I worked out it was a lychee haha. I would personally prefer the lychees (I mean scallops) seared a little longer but I would order it again.
This was an enjoyable vegetarian dish. I am grateful I got to try it, I usually never order eggplant but always seem to enjoy it. Of all the selections in Urban Tadka this isn’t one I would order again but for the eggplant lovers out there dive right in!
Urban Tadka spoiled us on this visit and prepared something just for us. It was decadent and looked beautiful. On the menu itself there are five sublime sounding items to order from. I would struggle to pick one. Bailey’s Orange and Praline Tart, or Pistachio Dome or Black Forest Log would fight for my belly.
SHAHI TUKRAY PA KAMUN – Fried bread soaked in sugar syrup and then topped with Rabri (crushed rice pudding) with a piece of Galub Jamun, warm sweet semolina dumplings, soaked in honey, sugar, rose nd cardamon syrup and topped with silver leaf.
This dessert was the epitome of modern Indian cuisine in both flavour and presentation. I will be requesting this on subsequent visits because it is wonderful. My only one gripe – silver leaf. I kept thinking I was about to bite on aluminium foil haha. Just go all out with gold leaf if presenting this one.
URBAN TADKA is a marvel of modern Indian cuisine. It is one of the best Indian venues I have visited and I cannot recommend the trip to Terrey Hills enough. Be it for Indian food Aussies know or traditional (but modernised in presentation) Indian food this venue has it all. It is suited to couples, business meetings, entire families or groups of any size.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambiance, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
Urban Tadka Deets:
PH: 02 9986 1040
321 Mona Vale Rd, Terrey Hills NSW 2084
Tues – Sun: 1130am – 3pm
Last Order: 215pm
Kitchen Closes: 230pm
Tues – Sun: 545pm – 1030pm
Last Order: 930pm
Kitchen Closes: 10pm
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – huge selection
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
BYO: Not on Friday or Saturday nights.
*** Spooning Australia was invited to attend this venue and the meal was complimentary ***
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