“Tarka is the sizzle of freshly sautéed ingredients; The mélange of spices, herbs and vegetables that flavor many Indian dishes”. This meaning of ‘Tarka’ is proudly flaunted on this restaurant’s website and the t-shirts of all their wait staff. This restaurant is apparently the sister concern of the popular Indian restaurant in downtown Austin- ‘The Clay Pit’. Tarka seems like it was created to pitch the niche market seeking Indian lunch or dinner in a hurry, and not necessarily a dining experience! The Tarka Kitchen is to Claypit what Pie Wie Diner is to P.F.Changs! A Fast food version of similar food minus the dining experience*;)
(* – the dining experience at Pie Wie is pretty decent unlike Tarka’s)
We decided to eat lunch at Tarka one weekend when we were near that part of Austin and had not tried this relatively new Indian restaurant. We ordered a Tarka Naninini with shredded lamb; it’s served with masala fries and looks like a Panini equivalent with naan. My daughter enjoyed the Indianized Panini but it would taste better if goat is substituted instead of lamb for the meat. The Indian meat dishes are made better with goat instead of lamb because mutton from lamb has little pungency in the United States! We also ordered a lamb biryani, it offers levels of mild, medium or hot, we ordered the hot version, but not hot enough for our taste buds, yes its tasty but not authentic biryani. The third order was the combo kabab which is supposed to come with two chicken skewers and two pieces of sheesh kabab, but instead of sheesh kabab, chapli kabab is served. Lastly we ordered chicken pakoras for kids meal, which was ok. For drinks we tried the guava lassi, pineapple lassi and mango lemonade. The drinks were fine but would have loved it sweeter with more flavor. The mango lemonade is an interesting combo drink which was part of the fountain drinks.
The food was decent and pretty good. It was the dining experience which lacked in this place. Though the ordering the food upfront, the fast food way or Piewie style is not bad, the rest of the service was not pleasant. This place surprisingly had a lot of wait staff, since we saw so many of them walking around, but service still is bad. When our food was delivered the service was poor and to add to the dining experience, their cleaning staff was sweeping around the tables while there were so many people still eating, it started feeling like eating in McDonalds after sometime where the cleaning staff is perpetually cleaning!
There are not many good Indian restaurants in Austin and it would be great if Tarka improves its service and enlarges its menu, then it would be a good restaurant to recommend!
Price Range: Average
Location: Tärka Indian Kitchen Restaurant, Sunset Valley Homestead Shopping
5207 Brodie Ln. (U.S. 290 E.) Austin, TX 78745
• Tarka Nannini
• Combo Kabab
• Chicken Pakora
• Guava Lassi
• Pineapple Lassi
• Mango Lemonade.