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A Whirlwind of Indian Delicacies under the Stars

My Magazine 2023/02
3 min
TANDOOR Indian Restaurant is named after the traditional Indian oven. This oven is basically cylindrical and made of clay. It is fired to a high heat by wood or charcoal, in which foods, especially meats, are cooked and unleavened flatbreads, such as roti and naan, is baked. Tandoori chicken, Chicken tikka and Tangdi kabab are some of the foods that are cooked in the Tandoor.

The word Tandoor comes from the Persian word Tanur, and its roots can be traced back over 5000 years to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization - one of the oldest known civilisations. The standard heating element of a tandoor is an internal charcoal or wood fire, which cooks food with direct heat and smoke. Tandoors can be fully above ground, or partially buried below ground, often reaching over a meter in height/depth. Temperatures in a tandoor can reach up to 480° C (900° F) and are routinely kept lit for extended periods. Therefore, traditional tandoors are usually found in restaurant kitchens.

Having said this, Tandoor is an authentic Indian restaurant right in the heart of Kotu Bendula Craft Market. It is surrounded by Gambian Craft shops, and the beach is just a few steps away. It's also within walking distance of the hotels such as Kombo Beach Hotel, Bungalow Beach Hotel, Sunset Beach Hotel, and Badala Park.

Tandoor opened in 2012 and has completed ten successful years of serving amazing Indian, Continental and African Cuisine to locals and tourists alike.

When we think of the word ambience in relation to a restaurant, what comes to mind is the beautiful decor, low lighting, soft music playing in the background and, of course, air conditioning. But Tandoor Indian Restaurant does not adhere to the typical rules of ambience! The question that comes to mind is why! 

The answer, dear readers, is really simple. There’s nothing quite like dining outdoors on a beautiful day. The fresh air and natural surroundings can provide much-needed peace and relaxation. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature. Whether you’re enjoying a meal with friends or family or simply taking a break to enjoy a cup of coffee, outdoor dining can be a truly wonderful experience.

For locals, an outdoor restaurant can be a second home, where they can always count on finding a warm welcome and familiar face. Tourists can sample the culture and cuisine of a new place. But no matter who you are, there is something special about dining in natural surroundings. Whether it’s the fresh air, the stunning views, or the chance to commune with nature, dining al fresco always provides an unforgettable experience. 

Eating al fresco in India originated when rustic roadside restaurants were opened along the highways to provide for tired lorry drivers after a long day of transporting goods. These were called Dhaabaas and were often found near petrol stations. The food is always fresh as usual, they don’t have refrigerators, and the bread is cooked before your eyes in the tandoor. 

Dhaabaas are traditionally characterised by mud huts with casual seating on rope-strung cots (called Chaarpai in Hindi) and food served on large steel plates. Open 24/7, they are an essential and often necessary stop for anyone passing through, from locals to tourists and lorry drivers. Many dhaabaas have acquired cult status and have people from neighbouring cities who drive up just to have a meal. 

Tandoor Indian Restaurant was designed along the lines of the Dhaabaa culture. It attempts to create a complete Indian experience - not just food. So don't be fooled by the simplicity of the decor! What matters is a transcendent meal. Everything else outside of the food is just fluff!

Tandoor has all the dishes a typical Indian restaurant would serve, like Samosas, Spring rolls, Tandoori Chicken, Tikka Masala, Chicken Tikka, Biryani, Pulao, all kinds of flatbreads like naan, roti and parathas and desserts like Gulaab Jaamun and Malai Kulfi. In addition, Tandoor also serves Gambian and Continental cuisine.  

Speaking of food, Tandoor serves more than just amazing food. It has a great selection of liquor, wines, cocktails, mocktails, coffee liqueurs, milkshakes, beer, hot beverages, soft drinks, seasonal juices, water, and the list goes on. After all, every meal needs the perfect drink. 

And to give their non-Gambian customers a taste of Gambian music, Tandoor has beautiful soul-touching live Kora (a 21-string West African 'harp-lute' of the Mandinka ethnic group) music played by a local musician daily. 

Please note that Tandoor is operational only during the high season, i.e. from October through April, and is open from 4 pm until midnight. 

The terrace dining area is available to rent for events.   

So if you’re looking for a unique and relaxing dining experience and food that is finger-licking good, check out Tandoor. Whether you choose to sit under the blue sky (or twinkling stars) or opt for the terrace, you won’t be disappointed!

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