Fast-casual Indian restaurant Tandur Indian Kitchen opens the first week of April at at 721 Governor Morrison St., Unit F-150, in SouthPark. The space is nextdoor to EarthFare and one side faces Mediterranean favorite YAFO Kitchen. The projected opening date is April 2.
Brothers H.P. and J. T. Patel first opened Tandur in Knoxville, Tenn.
“We really wanted to present Indian food in a better light where it’s approachable, but still authentic,” said H.P. Patel, who comes from India but has previously lived in Charlotte.
A tandur (pronounced “tan-do-er”) is a clay oven. They have two in the restaurant — all of the naan bread gets cooked in one, and all of the protein gets cooked in the other.
“Our whole brand is based on those ovens because that is where the magic happens,” Patel said.
The menu, created by renowned culinary consultant and chef Hari Nayak, breaks down the options in a simple format to ward off any stigma about Indian food being too complex or too spicy.
Starters ($3.95-$5.50) include Spiced Okra Fries and Naanchos, and Extras ($1.95-$2.50) include rice and naan bread (yes please).
Saucy Entrees ($9:50-$11.95) have two steps: Picking a sauce (from top-seller Tikka Masala to Vindaloo, with a range of spice levels) and picking a protein (from vegetarian paneer and tofu to meat options like chicken and lamb meatballs).
Biryani Bowls ($8.95-$9.95) with fragrant spices and saffron basmati rice feature chicken and veggie options.
Other, perhaps more approachable, options include Tandur Baked Wings ($7.95-$13.95); Kebabs ($9.95-$12.95), which range from Tofu Shami Kebabs to Steak Kebabs; signature wraps ($7.95-$9.50), which range from Mumbai Veggies to Goa Lamb; and even Salads ($8.95-$10.50), which include Tofu Kebab Salad and Shrimp Salad tossed with mixed greens, bean salad, vegetables and mango.
There is a kids menu as well, plus a variety of drinks including wine and Charlotte-brewed beers.
See the complete menu below; click on the image to enlarge.
Turn your lunch break into experiential dining by taking a moment to check out the two tandur ovens behind a window by the counter, the spice room (you’ve never seen so much turmeric in your life) and the learning center, which is an interactive menu with a touch screen that educates customers about the options, photos included.
As for all of the transparency, from the windows into the kitchen to the breakdown of menu items, Patel said, “We really just wanted to let people know how we do it.”
Tandur Indian Kitchen: 721 Governor Morrison St., Unit F-150
Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Featured photo: Biryani Bowls. Photo by Social Ape Marketing/Tandur Indian Kitchen