Getting a Spicy Bang for your buck
at Tandoori Flame
I laugh whenever someone tells me that I shouldn’t go to buffets because like most typical Asian girls, I don’t really eat that much. But if you follow the rules of Asian frugality which is getting the best quality at the lowest price, then the all-you-can-eat buffets can be the best deal of all. It’s really simple, always head for the most expensive items in the buffet or just follow the Asians. Only people with holes in their wallets fill themselves up with soup and salad first before they get to the entrees – you’ll recognize them as I’ll be the one following behind them with a pail to catch the money that falls out. But at Tandoori Flame because of my issues with dairy, I couldn’t just make a beeline for the most expensive buffet items as I only know what ingredients are in the common dishes such as Vindaloo, Butter Chicken, Kebab and Pakora that you find in most Indian restaurants. And as much as I like Indian food, I don’t like it enough to suffer through five weeks of allergen bronchitis.
So armed with my list of Indian dishes to avoid (my list is below), I was ready to tackle the feat of eating my way through 150 buffet items at Tandoori Flame. As I strolled leisurely through the buffet stations, what amazed me was that the Tandoori Flame buffet offers something for everyone regardless of their food issues:
– Vegetarians can enjoy salads and fruits such as green salad and cut up fruit,
– Gluten-sensitive people can enjoy salads, fruits, vegetables and any dish with dairy
– Vegans can enjoy salads and fruits. Since ghee is used in a lot of Indian dishes, they might have to avoid most cooked food unless they know the actual ingredients.
– If you’re lactose intolerant like me, you really have to be careful as ghee (clarified butter), yogurt and cream are used in a lot of Indian dishes. If one of your symptoms is anaphylactic shock I wouldn’t recommend going to Indian restaurants as there’s a very good probably a good chance of cross-contamination. Some dishes such as Tandoori chicken which is basted with yogurt or Gulab Jamun which uses milk in it’s batter Have a small amount of dairy that even someone with a high intolerance can handle in SMALL amounts. See my list below
– People who don’t want Indian food such as kids with a fussy palate, should head to the Kid’s Section of onion rings, French fries, spring rolls. There’s also pizza, salad and lots of Western dessert section.
– For kids and others who want non-alcoholic beverages, there are three flavours of milkshakes plus a whole array of mocktails from three flavours of Lassi and a drink called Ice Cream Faluda and more (drinks aren’t free and I suspect this is where they make the most profits)
– If you don’t like the typical Indian desserts which are generally sugar, sugar and more sugar, there were Western desserts such as carrot cake, Nanimo Bars, chocolate cake, butter tarts and maple cake. It was nothing to write home about or should I say to tweet, but it hits the sweet spot if you want dessert (if your elastic waisted pants managed to stay intact after your gorging at the meat stations).
– Even if your kid is an extremely picky eater, I’m sure the million choices of ice cream, okay I exaggerate, 8+ choices of ice cream plus soft serve of vanilla or chocolate will serve as adequate fuel to enable your kids to ricochet off your ceilings the whole night – or if you want a quiet night with your husband, simply park your kids at the ice cream station for two hours.
I did like the fact that the naan is made on premises at Tandoori Flame and food is fresh due to the high turnover of guests as evidenced by the amount of people waiting in line outside the restaurant waiting to be seated. There are chefs on premises cooking and replenishing items as they are depleted. A PR person informed me that Apparently, after lunch is done at 3:30 p.m., all stations are replenished with fresh food to ensure that the dinner crowd isn’t eating food that has been sitting there since lunch time. I arrived at 6:15 and the pieces of Tandoori Chicken I had were very tender, evidence that it hadn’t sitting there since lunchtime. And the Poori which was small puffed bread was divine, this is something which obviously won’t last more than a few hours. I could have eaten 10 of these.
Another thing I noticed was that there was a lot of the guests were Indians, probably due to the fact that Tandoori Flame makes a lot of authentic Indian dishes from different regions of India.
The downside though is that the Western food is okay as the salads and fruits didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary. This doesn’t surprise me as the emphasis here is on Indian cuisine but at least there are options for those friends who accompany you who aren’t into spicy Indian cuisine.
In any event, you’re still getting bang for your buck. The price of the buffet varies from $16.99 for lunch weekday to $26.99 on weekends for adults. If you ordered two dishes at an Indian restaurant, it would be about the same price of a buffet so you are truly getting value for your money if you try a lot of items.
About Tandoori Buffet:
The Delta location is the first BC location after two successful restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area. With 12 food stations and 150 food items, there’s 450+ seating capacity with a multi-room layout, 11,000 sq. ft. Join the tandoor E-Klub get a FREE Buffet, promotions, vouchers & special invites to dine with celebrities in style, plus gifts on your birthday & wedding anniversary!
List of Indian Menu Items With and Without Dairy
I’ve attempted to start a list of Indian menu items with and without dairy which I used when I went to Tandoori Flame. I also found another lengthy list at this Wikipedia List of Indian dishes. Note that those items marked with an asterik are items that were at Tandoori Flame when I visited but may or may not be there every day.
No dairy: Some items have a little dairy which were tolerated by me and I have a high sensitivity
Aloo Tikki Chaat
*Bhuna Murgh: roasted gravy chicken curry with curry paste, chilli and other spicesBhuna Murgh: roasted gravy chicken curry with curry paste, chilli and other spices
Bhel Puri (rice with date chutney)
*Bombay Shrimp Curry
*Biryani (spicy rice)
*Biryani: spicy rice
*Chicken Pakora: deep fried chicken fritters
*Chilli Potato: potatoes with chilli
Daal (spiced lentils)
*Gulab Jamun Hot (sweet dessert balls) milk solids*
*Mango custard: has some milk
*Maple Chocolate Mania Cake
Pani Pura (chickpea-potato stuffed puris, layered with green and tamarind chutney)
*Poori -small puffed bread
Rogan Josh (might have yogurt)
Sambahar with idli or doas
*Sag aloo: potato with spices
*Tandooor Chicken (a little bit of basted yogurt)
*Tandoori Fruit Chaat: skewers of fruit with spice
Vindaloo: tomato based curry usually with meat
*Triple Chocolate Fudge
*Veg Fried Rice
Dishes Containing Dairy
Bengali Rasgulla (dessert ball with paneer)
*Carrot Cake (icing)
*Dahi Bhalla: fast food balls with yogurt
*Dal makhani: mixed lentil curry with lots of butter and cream
*Dum Ka Murgh: slow cooked curry with spices and only 1 tbsp of ghee (butter)
Gajrella Hot (carrot pudding with lots of butter and milk)
*Ice Cream – 8+ kinds
*Ice Cream – 2 soft serve
*Murgh Patiala: chicken with yogurt sauce
*Naan – usually made with yogurt with butter spread liberally on top
*Nihaari Gosh: meat with a sauce with spices and yogurt
*Pakora Malai Murgh Tikka: pieces of chicken rolled in yogurt and batter
*Rasgulla: dessert made with yogurt
*Sooji Halwa (dessert): could be made with milk
Thandi Kheer (pudding with condensed milk)
Thandi Rasmalai (ballswith thick milk)