Mon – Fri: 7:45am – 4:30pm
“To the contrary of Miss SL, I come to this unique morning breakfast with little exposure. I have only had an Indian breakfast on a few occasions, with the end result being overwhelmingly positive. Looking at the current Melbourne brunch scene, one can easily draw the conclusion that there isn’t enough diversity. Safe brunch dishes such as corn fritters and baked eggs are guaranteed to be delightful. However, there are a few rare establishments willing to go beyond the brunch norm. It’s with this that we introduce – Tadka Boom!, a modern and relaxed Indian restaurant located in Goldsbrough Lane offering Indian breakfast!
While being slightly hidden, the location and fit out isn’t your typical Indian dining experience. Gone are the white table cloths and tacky music, replaced with a slick and modern fit-out. Consideration as to design, layout and lighting were all thought out and lead by owner Lalitha Rajan’s recently graduated architect son. The contrast between the black, grey and yellow seamlessly complements each other. Combined with the circular fluorescent lights creates a vibrant and refreshing Indian cafe space.
The friendly staff explained the menu and I was gently persuaded to try Idli Over Easy – steamed rice cakes with coconut chutney, spicy tomato chutney & gun powder served with fried eggs & spinach [$9.80] with a Chai Coffee.
Chai Coffee is something I don’t typically prescribe to, however the rich spices (I picked up some cinnamon and cardamom flavours) with a touch of milk really complemented the meal. Not to mention being perfect for winter!
The two different chutneys and gun power spice (which was explained as ‘India’s equivalent of dukkah’) created surprising depth to the dish. The rice cakes were slightly sweet and – when incorporated with the tomato chutney, gun powder and fried egg – was delightful. The fried eggs were cooked well; a soft egg yolk that seeped out when split. Whilst being deceptively small, the density of the rice cakes made for a sustaining meal. My only small criticism would be presentation, but being so damn delicious I could overlook this.
With considerably cheap breakfast options that can be eaten in or take-away,Tadka Boom! is the perfect alternative to the typical raisin toast and coffee. So turn your attention to the other side of Goldsbrough Lane and experience a modern Indian breakfast. It will not disappoint.”
“Indian for breakfast. The thought leaves some of us excited, ‘something new! Something different! Finally!’ This same thought may leave others running for the door – ‘no thanks! I don’t want curry first thing in the morning!’
Indian cuisine is quite varied, differing extensively from North to South. It’s not about spicy flavours all the time and Lalitha Rajan, owner of Tadka Boom!, proves it to us with her first venture into the hospitality world with her fusion-Indian cafe, new to Goldsbrough Lane.
‘I used to be a director at Hewlett-Packard,’ Rajan explains, ‘One day flying back from a meeting in the US, I thought to myself – I want to open up my own cafe. And I did. I got back, quit my job and focused all my energy on my recipes, experimenting with different flavours. I’m still playing around with different combinations, but a lot of the food here is what I make at home.’
Rajan is radiant and a real inspiration – when she talks, you can see her passion and devotion to food. ‘We’re not currently open on the weekends, but that gives me time to come in and make all the sauces, which are made by hand,’ she laughs.
The menu takes a modern spin on common Indian breakfast elements such as idli’s, coconut chutney and congee. I decided on something that mixes a typical Aussie breakfast with a typical Indian one – the Bada Brekkie – Tadka Boom!’s big breakfast of mixed lentil & rice piklets with spicy tomato chutney, Indian scrambled eggs & sauteed mushrooms [$9.80].
The bada brekky was a mouthful of flavour and perhaps isn’t for someone looking for a gentle start to the day. The spicy tomato chutney is true to its origins and is packed with mixed spices. The eggs were beautifully fluffy and quite yellow. I suspect a hint of cumin was added – a common thing seen in Indian eggs.
We had also ordered a chai filter coffee with one sugar (as per recommendation), which was interesting – I have had home-made chai tea quite often but never experienced this as a coffee. The flavours were a beautiful balance of infused cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and the coffee itself was light and barely noticeable.
Rajan insisted that we try the Grandma’s Jau Porridge – fine barley porridge with roasted almond & berry compote in cinnamon milk [$7.20 for a full serve] add poached pear [$1.50]. Honestly, this dish blew me away and I can’t wait to go back on a cold morning and have a big bowl. The dish is sweet on top and moves into a less sweet barley base. The transition from the berry compote to the sweet and gently spiced cinnamon milk is just delightful. The pear is perfectly poached and the lightly toasted almonds flakes really top it all off. Delicious!
Tadka Boom! offers a really different brunch experience to the average westerners, and an interesting twist on traditional food for those who are used to it. The food is fast, delicious and sustaining, and if no other reason than to relish Grandma’s Jau Porridge a go, make sure you give Tadka Boom! a go.”
Final thought: “An excitingly different take on brunch. The porridge is a must”