Food review, The Tamarind Tree Norwich: 'Great value Thai food'

Mixed starters including spring rolls and pork toast from the set menu at Tamarind Thai Restaurant. 

The mixed starters from the set menu at Tamarind Thai Restaurant. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

I must have walked past the Tamarind Tree Thai Restaurant hundreds of times in the last few years as it's on my way to work. I've often looked hungrily through the windows on my way home, especially in the dark winter when the lit-up store front looked the most inviting place in All Saints Street, so I was really keen to finally try it out on a chilly Thursday evening. 

Inside The Tamarind Tree Thai Restaurant in Norwich.

Inside The Tamarind Tree Thai Restaurant in Norwich. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

I'm not much of a meat and two veg sort of person and have been known to be left uninspired by a roast. Instead, aromatic Asian food is definitely near the top of my list of favourite foods, so I was expecting the Tamarind Tree to play right into my palate's preferences, and I'd had a good peruse of the menu on my lunch break in anticipation.

I clocked off from work and met my partner there just before 6pm.  We were the first diners in, given a friendly welcome by the waiting staff.

Settled in with drinks, and menus in front of us, I was immediately drawn to the set option, which promised mixed starters, three main dishes, egg fried rice and dessert. There's nothing I like more than having a bit of everything so this seemed like a good choice at £75.95 for three generous courses for two people.

Mixed starters including vegetable spring rolls and steamed pork dumplings at The Tamarind Tree.

Mixed starters including vegetable spring rolls and steamed pork dumplings at The Tamarind Tree. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

When the mixed starters arrived they looked very appetising and we quickly dug into the chicken skewers which were tender and very tasty, and were perfectly accompanied by a light yogurt and an unctuous satay sauce. With those polished off in short order we moved on to wolfing down the spring rolls, which were the perfect balance of crunchy and flaky and filled with shredded, lightly marinated vegetables. We particularly enjoyed the steamed dumplings filled with pork, mushrooms and Thai herbs as their texture was a nice foil to the crispier goods on offer. By the time we'd eaten the remaining starters, pastry parcels of well seasoned pork dipped in sweet chili sauce and fried pork toast, I already felt like we were getting good value for money.

A big bowl of egg-fried rice at the Tamarind Tree Thai Restaurant.

A big bowl of egg-fried rice at the Tamarind Tree Thai Restaurant. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

As our starter was being cleared away another couple sat down to eat and I noticed the ratio of restaurant diners to Deliveroo and Just Eat orders coming in every 10 minutes or so was significantly skewed towards the latter - the food is clearly really popular with the takeaway crowd, and when our mains came out I could see why. The steaming pile of egg fried rice, bright Thai red curry, tender slabs of marinated beef, sticky sweet and sour king prawns and plate of saucy vegetables was exactly the kind of food I would gleefully unpack and inhale while wearing pyjamas and bingeing TV.

Thai red curry at The Tamarind Tree.

Thai red curry at The Tamarind Tree. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

We tried the red curry first which had that delicious sweet, warming lemongrass flavour that I find impossible to recreate from home cooking with packets and pastes. This with spoonfuls of the egg-fried rice was a treat on its own, but doling the curry sauce onto the tender medium-rare beef made it even more indulgent and satisfying.

Sweet and sour king prawns at The Tamarind Tree.

Sweet and sour king prawns at The Tamarind Tree. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

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If king prawns are on the menu I will always be delighted, and I relished the tangy, pineapple infusion of the rich sauce they swam in, though if I could only have ordered one dish I would have chosen the curry, I think it would be a real crowd-pleaser. For my partner, the beef took top billing.

Weeping tiger beef at The Tamarind Tree.

Weeping tiger beef at The Tamarind Tree. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

After that banquet, which hit just about every spot, we were feeling quite sleepy and I was in two minds about staying for dessert as the night was drawing in a bit. We opted to compromise and get the deep-fried banana fritters and ice cream to takeaway seeing as the restaurant was primed and ready for takeouts. Tea and coffee was also included in the set menu price but we passed on that for fear of spilling on the way home. 

Banana fritters with ice cream, takeout from The Tamarind Tree.

Banana fritters with ice cream, takeout from The Tamarind Tree. - Credit: Rosanna Elliott

When we got in and kicked off our shoes, I was pretty full up so gave my partner the green light to scoff most of the dessert. This was something that I came to regret as when I did take a bit of the almost savoury fried banana along with a mouthful of sweet, creamy ice cream it was shockingly moreish. Banana fritters are not the sort of thing I would pick off a menu but I would definitely try them again, they were a very pleasant surprise.

Overall I would happily eat from The Tamarind Tree again, it is definitely the sort of food I would find myself craving to cheer up a dreary weekday evening. Personally, I would opt for having the whole meal as a takeaway next time, but I think the set menu is dine in only so it is worth going along for that.

Menu and booking at thetamarindtree.co.uk or call 01603 632 365

Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.