Tangritah Uyghur Shish Kebab Restaurant - An unexpected delight!

Have you ever walked past a dingy looking restaurant with dated decor, clear plastic table cloths covering lace table cloths, lavender washed walls and random hanging pictures of Egypt and thought 'I want to eat there!'? Well I found myself in this situation on a Friday night, wanting to try out Tangritah Uyghur Shish Kebab Restaurant on Grote St, which always seemed to pull a solid crowd.
Lamb Pie (Gush Nan)

With none of the dining party ever having tried Uyghur (pronounced wee-gur) food before, we had no idea what to expect or even what to order. This doesn't happen very often given that most of my friends are avid foodies. Lucky the A4 primary school binder menus we were provided with had photos!

After much deliberation, we decided on Lamb Pie (Gush Nan), Lamb Dumplings (Su Mantisi), Lamb Kebabs, Chicken Kebabs, and Stir Fried Chicken with Vegetables (Tohu Qorumisi). First to come out was the Lamb Pie and this set the Uyghur food experience bar very high. The Lamb Pie was a flaky, short pastry encasing flavoursome marinated lamb mince, dotted with flecks of chilli and spring onion. The pastry of the Lamb Pie was very similar to that of a shallot pancake commonly served at Cantonese restaurants.  Meanwhile, the style of the Lamb Pie was very similar to a Turkish Gozleme but was much more tasty.        

Lamb dumplings were good but less of a pleasant surprise when compared to it's lamb predecessor, the Lamb Pie. Dumpling casing was cooked well and didn't taste stodgy. Special mention should be made of the dumpling filling,  succulent lamb mince that glistened with meat juices. The flavour of the lamb was very evident and remained on the palate some time after the dumpling had been eaten. This is a plus in my books, as all too often when you eat a dumpling the flavour of the filling becomes lost.

Lamb dumplings (Su Mantisi)

As the Uyghur people are originally from a region that incorporates Western China and the'Stans (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan), the influences from a mixture of cultures is represented in their food. After the dumplings came the lamb and chicken kebabs, tender pieces of meat skewered on metal spears. It is believed that the origin of the kebab came from Persian soldiers using their armory to cook meat over open fires, and as a result the modern kebab is very similar in appearance to swords used in battle. Both types of kebabs were heavily spiced and packed a considerable amount of heat. This heat would coat the corners of your mouth and lingers for the rest of the meal. Both the lamb and chicken were tender and cooked to perfection, and would rival the famed grilled meats of well established Greek restaurants.  

Lamb kebab

Chicken Kebab

Last to come out was the Stir Fried Chicken with Vegetables (Tohu Qorumisi), a very unassuming name for an incredible dish. This dish was chosen as a recommendation by the waiter considering our experience with Uyghur cuisine. It was touted as being very popular, coming in two sizes and was for those keen to enjoy some spicy fare. What came out wasn't exactly stir fried chicken with vegetables but a spicy, spicy chicken casserole containing whole chillies, chicken pieces still on the bone, strips of capsicum and tender potato. This was supported by a base of handmade flat rice noodles, that had an amazing amount of chew - Al dente aficionados eat your heart out. It was evident that the broth for this dish was prepared slowly, as it was steeped with deep flavours of ginger, star anise and pepper. I don't know if it's cold where Uyghurs come from but Tohu Qorumisi certainly would be perfect for a cold winter's night, they were not kidding when they said it was spicy!

Stir Fried Chicken with Vegetables (Tohu Qorumisi)

The food at Tangritah Uyghur Shish Kebab Restaurant was an unexpected delight. I would definitely recommend it to those who are yet to experience Uyghur cuisine. This restaurant also has some added 'charms' which may or may not tickle your fancy such as; going outside and around the building for access to the bathrooms, the verbal '$73' bill at the end (no receipt) and having to distribute the plates and cutlery for the table ourselves. If you're looking for fine dining this is not likely to interest you, however, for those after something a little more interesting and exotic, perfecto!

If you enjoyed reading about this Kebab, check out http://kebabquest.com/ for some more kebab reviews!

Jess gives Tangritah Uyghur Shish Kebab Restaurant 14/20 chops on the Chopping Board.

Food: 9/10
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 2/5

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