Under the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas there are many restaurants specializing in all kinds of cuisine. An outstanding one among them is Tamba Indian Cuisine located on the second floor of the Hawaiian Marketplace, a plaza on the Las Vegas Strip between Tropicana and Harmon near the Polo Towers.
Not all Indian-style restaurants are the same style cooking, and the chefs have their own individual flair with ingredients. I recently wrote about another Indian restaurant (Gandhi, also located in Las Vegas), which is owned by the same family. Both are excellent, and Tamba’s chefs execute a contemporary flair while keeping the flavorful Indian traditions.
Tamba has a unique presentation that sets it apart from other eateries. Its decor is rich in brown and orange colors with beautiful teak floors and murals that depict the culture of India. The overall setting is predominantly contemporary with high-back booths and the atmosphere is enhanced with contemporary music and soft lighting. It makes for a wonderful evening, especially with its staff being so very cordial and accommodating.
On our culinary journey, we’ll start with the breads that are traditional in Indian cuisine, served along with condiments. Plain Naan is white flour Tandoori bread. This is very popular with dishes seasoned with curry, the backbone of Indian spices. Other types of bread include Garlic Naan, and Kabuli Naan, which is garnished with sweet cherries and cashews.
Aloo Naan is moist bread stuffed with lightly spiced potatoes. The Onion Kulcha is a softer version of the bread, and it’s stuffed with onions and herbs. Parantha is flat bread, wrapped around in layers then glazed with butter. The Tandoori Roti is whole wheat bread baked in a clay oven.
The accompaniments are Cucumber Raita, a yogurt dish often used to cool the palate with spicier dishes; Punjabi Salad of sliced onion, tomatoes, cucumber and carrots served with lemon.
The appetizers at Tamba, to say the least, are very intriguing. Onion Bhaji is a dish that is a great hit in London, where Indian food is very popular. This dish consists of chopped onions seasoned with herbs, and deep fried in chick pea batter.
Another favorite of mine is Chicken Pakora, which is fish marinated in yogurt with herb butter. If you are new to Indian food, a good way to get introduced is to try a buffet in order to get a chance to try a taste of all the flavors. Definitely try the lamb and chicken cooked in a clay oven, along with the curries.
Chicken Tikka is boneless chicken marinated with herbs and lime. Seekh Kabob is fresh ginger-flavored, grilled, ground lamb roll. Karahi Chicken is stir-fired poultry on a thick blend of onions, tomatoes and cilantro.
Indian food should always be accompanied by a rice side such as Basmati or Jasmine varieties, which are the norm. You can also try a rice mixture such as Lamb Biryani-spiced lamb with medley of vegetables cooked together with nuts and raisins-or enjoy the prawn, chicken or all-vegetable version.
To top off your dining, try one of the wonderful desserts, such as the Mango Ice Cream.
For more information, go to www.tambalounge.com, or call (702) 798-7889. The hours are 11:30 until 3 p.m. for lunch and 6 – 11 p.m. for dinner. CSN rates Tamba a 10.