Walking past, you could easily miss the small astroturfed corridor that leads to the hidden piece of India that is Tamleni Indian Restaurant, Penrith.
Colourful curries and rice
Tamleni is anything but flash. It is modest in itís appearance, but adorned with large scale traditional artworks of itís homeland. The sound of Indian music is playing in the background adding to the inviting vibe.
Look for the sign and turn down the alleyway
The astroturfed corridor, follow the yummy smell.
The premises is quite large once inside, with a welcoming ambience from the friendly staff. An aromatic wave of spices fills the air, automatically making my mouth salivate. The menu is very extensive offering a variety of entrees, mains and traditional deserts.
My bright plate awaiting delicious meals
Entrees feature specials like: Vegetable Samosa (3 per serve $5.50), Kukulu Colombo (crisp homemade dough stuffed with chicken, herbs and spices deep fried- $4.90 for 3 pieces) or Lamb Madura (succulent pieces of spiced lamb in a pastry pocket, deep fried- $4.90 for 3 pieces). All entrees are served with a refreshing minted yoghurt.
The neon bright bar within the restaurant
I always choose my all-time favourite Lamb Madura, comprising of three small cigar shaped pieces of the most tender marinated lamb, wrapped in a delicious pastry, deep fried. Dipped with the mint yoghurt makes it a really flavoursome entree. The Naan bread selection has something for everyone, and also makes for a great lighter entree option.
Naan breads start from $2.80 and feature toppings like garlic, spicy mince, butter, honey, nuts and dried fruits, and cheese.
Lamb Madura, my favourite entree option.
Honey naan is crispy and sweet-nice to order for something to break through the rich spices and yoghurt sauces. It is a massive serving, and one serving can be easily shared between two people.
Yummy honey naan
The drinks menu features a short variety of white and red wines starting at $5 a glass, as well as standard spirits, local and imported beers.
A nice cold bottle of James Squire IPA goes down well with the spicy meals
The main meals are divided into categories of Tandoori, Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Seafood and an option of vegetables. All curry options are priced at $14.90, and feature some popular chicken favourites like butter chicken, mango chicken, Vindaloo, Tikka, Masala and Saag. Some of the unique menu items include the Bombay Beef, Mysore Lamb, Prawn malabari and Dahl Maharani.There are spice level options of medium hot and Hot.
Now that I am a avid spice lover, I am all about the hotter the better; but as a warning these guys do not hold back with the spice factor. Hot is hot...mouth watering hot.
Wedding rice is a nice change from traditional plain white rice
For a side serving of rice, you're able to choose from the plain white rice ($2.90), Wedding rice (stir fried rice with cashews, nuts, sultanas and cardamom- $3.90) or Tanjore Rice (served with mixed vegetables, onion, curry leaves and a touch of ghee - $3.90).
Chicken Madras is spice rich and delicious
Feeling the need for something spicy and bursting with flavour, I ordered the Chicken Madras. The chicken pieces are succulent and cooked in a beautiful spice enriched sauce. The serving size is generous when ordered with a side of rice. The wedding rice is another favourite of mine, with an added texture given from the crunchy cashews and delicate spicing of cardamom.
The mango chicken is an option for those who love mangos, and are after a main option which isnít punching with spice. I canít say this is a selection I would choose again as I found the flavour had a strong evaporated milk flavour throughout, combined with not enough flavour. It is extremely mild.
Desserts are limited with only two options; the Gulab Jamun (Dumplings of thickened milk and cottage cheese, deep fried in saffron flavoured sugar syrup, served warm or cold $3.90) or the mango Kulfi (Indian ice cream with mango pulp $3.90).
I tried the mango kulfi, and it was a very refreshing dessert. The Indian ice cream was flavoured with nuts and spices. Definitely something different.
Overall Tamleni is a great location for an affordable night out of Indian dining in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Traditional bright artwork
Where: 12 Castlereagh Street Penrith NSW
Why: Affordable Indian food in a relaxing environment
Cost: Curries $14.90. Rice starts at $2.90. Naan breads start from $2.50.
When: Lunch is served (Thursday and Friday only) 12pm-2.30pm. Dinner (Tuesday to Sunday) 5pm-9pm (Friday-Saturday till 9.30pm).
Good for kids: Yes, just make sure you do not order a hot meal as they are spicy.
Take away: Yes, 10% discount for orders over $15.