Every family has one. That person whose cooking can rewind the years. A single mouthful transporting you back to family dinners at your grandmother’s kitchen table, or every single happy birthday party. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with my mum and sister talking endlessly about opening an Italian eatery of our own. It would be a hit, let me tell you. So when I was invited to the launch of the new, family owned Indian restaurant Tadka Boom! I was in. Tadka Boom! is not what you would expect. There are no curries on this menu, no butter chicken or heavy rogan josh. Instead, co-founders Ashwin and Lalitha Rajan are offering a modern take on the traditional. It’s what they call ‘healthy’ Indian and it’s inspired. Dishes are fresher and cleaner than your usual Indian cuisine without all the heavy oils and creams. Think roasted vegetable salad with couscous, mixed lentil and raita yoghurt dressing, or grilled chicken marinated in house made spices with a mint and coriander chutney. The Tadka Boom! launch party was a fantastic way to try the offerings and get a real sense of what these guys are doing.
We started our night with the carb on carb specialty, a potato tikki slider with house made chutney and mayo. I’m not sure that this was the best introduction to the ‘healthy’ Indian concept with a crunchy fried potato pattie wedged into a pillowy soft brioche bun. But putting aside the calories, that classic potato and bread combo works and the hint of Indian spice in the chutney added some welcome heat and complexity to the basics.
Another highlight – the Boom!osa – is a balanced bowl of greens with black chickpeas and broken spinach and potato samosas.
The stand-out menu options are definitely the roti wraps and brown basmati rice bowls. The Kid Kaboom! roti roll is a feast of juicy, generous chunks of 15 hour slow-cooked lamb marinated in masala with a crunch of peppery rocket and topped with a refreshing raita yoghurt. It took these guys over 7 months to perfect their Tadka Boom! roti. Apparently the traditional roti doesn’t roll – who knew? Tadka Boom’s roti is a soft and light flat bread without the oil or heaviness you usually get from a roti.
Dessert was Mama Ranjan’s range of seriously creamy ice-creams. ‘The Pink Panther’ is a sublime mix of pistachio and rose that tastes kind of like the best turkish delight of your life minus the jelly (but with a whole lot of cream). This stuff is divine and there are plans to sell it by the tub soon – cross your fingers.
I love the Tadka Boom concept and it’s a wonderful addition to the CBD lunch scene. Healthy eating options with great flavour is exactly what I’m looking for when dining mid-week. The brown rice bowls with marinated chicken and vegetables are substantial and filling dishes while still feeling healthy. It would be great to know the calorie content of some of these dishes though. That sort of information can help people balance their day, especially during the working week. Tadka Boom’s Goldsbrough Lane spot means it will be seeing lots of pinstripe suit traffic. Be warned – I expect there will be lines very soon. My Fair Melbourne attended the launch party as a guest of Tadka Boom!
Tadka Boom – 22 Goldsbrough Lane, Melbourne CBD