With its lively parade of South Asian restaurants and supermarkets (plus some Eastern European outposts!), Foleshill Road offers foodies one of the most unique and vibrant experiences to be had anywhere in Coventry. So why aren’t we shouting about it from the rooftops? In this new occasional series, Food Covolution and friends try out some of the jewels of Foleshill Road, and encourage you to do the same!
Name: Tamil’s Taste of Asia
Location: 320-322 Foleshill Road, Coventry CV6 5AJ
Cuisine: South Indian/Sri Lankan
Takeaway/Delivery: Yes to both. Also has own app.
Welcome and service: Helpful and well-informed. We wanted to get the full experience, so we ordered a variety of different dishes to share between us; we didn’t have to wait long for the first ones to appear and from then on they arrived at pretty much ideally-spaced intervals.
Décor and ambiance: As with many Foleshill Road restaurants, don’t expect luxe. Although perfectly clean and comfortable, Tamil’s is quite a basic space: decorative flourishes are minimal, and my abiding impression is actually of…beige. Rather a lot of beige. On the other hand, if the food and company are right, décor becomes irrelevant. I didn’t even notice the big-screen TV playing Bollywood movies.
Food: Lots to choose from! Fortunately, the menu is tailor-made for small and/or sharing plates, and treating it like this allows you to explore. Both the idli (spongy South Indian steamed rice cakes) and the paruppu vadai (Tamil fritters, dense and oddly reminiscent of vegan sausages – I’m aware that that comparison won’t be selling them to everybody) came with a firey sambar (dunking soup) and a trio of coconut chutneys. We also had chilli coriander dosa, which was pretty much what it said on the tin – dosa stuffed with chopped fresh coriander and raw chilli – and a somewhat gentler paneer masala dosa. The non-vegetarians shared a king prawn biryani made with fabulously aromatic cardamom rice.
Eye-openers of the evening were vegetable kothu, a dry-ish curry served in a brass pot, roasted vegetables made chewy by the addition of shredded flatbread; and paal appam (milk hoppers) which we ordered after the waitress said they were the restaurant’s speciality. They arrived looking like pancakes spread with yogurt; we were somewhat bemused to find that not only were they not hot, but the topping was not yogurt; instead, it was a shiny glaze of very sugary coconut milk…whose entirely unexpected brilliance was the way it played against the salty paneer and the spicy biriyani rice! It’s flavour revelations like that, my friends, that demonstrate why you need to be eating on the Foleshill Road.
Value for money: You got it! We dined like royalty for little more than ten quid each.
Vegan: Dishes not specifically indicated on the menu, but shouldn’t be difficult. Ask staff if in doubt.
Room for improvement?: May be a middle-aged woman thing, but the atmosphere seemed slightly hot and stuffy. More variety on the chutneys might have been nice. Exercise caution if you don’t like coconut.
Anything else?: Inspired to try out Tamil cooking at home? Pick up some bags of spice mix on your way out.
Food Hygiene rating: 3 (Generally Satisfactory)
Disclosure: I paid for the food I ate at Tamil’s Taste of Asia from my own resources.