Tap-ing on heaven’s door

A visit to the Tap & Tandoor, Solihull.

The long hot summer has made for plenty of evenings when it seems a waste to head home. The Tap and Tandoor, described as and Indian Gastro Pub, is one of those places where you can happily while away an evening with food, drinks and plenty of entertainment via the screens dotted around the bar.

You can smell the inviting waft of spices before you can even see inside the Tap and Tandoor. As you step through the doors, you’re in a welcoming and bright room with plenty of alcoves and secluded spaces to make the 80-seater restaurant seem more intimate. In fact, if you think of the vibe of a Mexican cantina, you’ll have a good idea what to expect.

Let’s begin with tap rather than tandoor. This is a place that prides itself on its craft beer selection. There’s a good selection of craft beers and more traditional real ales, of which a pleasantly chilled Blue Moon wheat beer made a perfect accompaniment to both the food and the warm summer’s evening.

In addition, there’s a well-chosen selection of spirits. A cocktail menu includes Liquid Sunshine, with coconut, pineapple and vanilla, or the house cocktail with its flavours of cascade hops, burnt lemon and pink grapefruit.

On the evening we visited, there was close to a full house, made up of family groups, friends and couples. Although the restaurant was busy, service was timely, warm and personable, and our food arrived promptly.

The menu here operates on tapas principles. Choose your selection, and it will arrive all at the same time in a series of bowls or on sizzling platters. If you love tapas, this is absolutely the same kind of sociable eating, with treats to share around the table.

From the small plates section of the menu, we chose naan sliders, loaded with pomegranate, onions, coriander chutney and seekh kebab. This is food for friends and family – for dipping into the bowl, chatting, and letting the evening laze by.

From the list of home style curries, we chose chicken palak, described as a healthy dish. This was crammed with succulent chicken and lots of spinach, with the kind of spicing that dances on your tongue. We added the king prawn curry, full of plump prawns in chili and tomato sauce. Chicken tikka arrived on a sizzling platter with an almost visible trail of its potent aroma following it to the table.

To accompany the meal, we shared plain rice, which helped to mop up all the glorious sauce from the king prawn curry. The house salad is full of cucumber, tomato and onion in spices, and makes a good balance to the rich dishes.

If you are dining with food allergies, you will be pleased to learn that the Tap and Tandoor’s menu is clearly marked with gluten free options, and there are plenty of them. This is not somewhere where you face a choice from a very short list. If you have other allergies, such as milk, the kitchen team can offer guidance; a handwritten list set out the dishes that could be adapted, and again, there was plenty of choice.

So for those of you with food allergies missing spiciness in your life, this is a welcome addition to your list of dining choices. Don’t forget that there are also lots of vegan options. There were desserts available including kulfi and sorbet, but we were sadly too full to be tempted.

The Tap and Tandoor is on Warwick Road, Solihull. Website.