The choice of restaurant tonight came from a friend of mine who lives in Laval. For a couple of months now he had been raving about this Indian restaurant in his area. Naturally, I had to verify his claim; so I accepted to meet him at Tandoori Palace for a Sunday dinner. Traffic not being an issue on this day of the week at night, it took me under twenty minutes to reach the B.Y.O.W. joint from Westmount and pull up into one its parking spots.
I had a hard time finding Tandoori's year established online, but a quick glance at its interior gives one an idea. Brick walls, thick wooden tabletops and oriental artifacts convey a touch of contemporary elegance, but where the restaurant shows its age is from its carpeted floors. When's the last time you dined on a carpet? The forty-seater was quite empty at 7:30PM; I only counted eight diners excluding my friend and myself.
tagged: WHERE IS EVERYBODY?
With a menu focusing on North Indian cuisine (the more common of the two), we were faced with the difficult task of choosing from an endless array of options. Soups, fritters, vegetarian dishes, biryanis, curries, stews, tandoori, tikka, rice, bread and sides all come in a variety of choices. Daunted by this litany of alternatives, we decided to remove the guesswork and go for a pre-set combo for two.
This consisted of a soup, assortment of grilled meats (all halal), two curries, bread, rice and dessert. At $25 per person, it seemed to cover all the bases at an affordable price. And it certainly delivered for what it was. I particularly enjoyed the chicken tikka and lamb seekh kebab and found those moist and flavourful. The tandoori chicken and shrimp, on the other hand, were dry and passable.
Another winner was the korma – ordered extra outside of the combo – which featured succulent morsels of lamb in a fragrant sauce. Finally, the butter chicken was creamy but overly sweet, and the gulab jamun balls were soaked in a simple syrup lacking in aromatics; both were forgettable.
I understand that service standards will vary across calibers of restaurants and that not every eatery is expected to employ sharp and polished waitstaff. Tonight, alas, was beyond all that. Aside a potential language barrier which had our waiter misunderstand us on a couple occasions, service felt very rushed to the point of making us feel unwelcome. Mind you, we showed up at 7:30PM and the Palace closes at 9PM.
We were still working on our mains when the waiter served us dessert and our bill then asked us if we wanted containers for leftovers. The staff then started vacuuming the floors while we were still there. All this at around 8:45PM, whereas the unwritten rule is that a restaurant will seat you and take your order up until closing time, but let you stay past that. I even spotted clients walking in for takeout orders being prematurely turned away.
For a spot with the word "palace" in its name, I certainly did not feel treated at one. As a side thought, I just realized many subcontinental restaurants like that in their name: Chand Palace, Masala Palace, Punjab Palace, Shahi Palace… but I digress. In closing, while I did find the food at Tandoori great-if-not-perfect while lacking a little in heat, it would be nice if I did not feel pressured to wolf it down next time.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $25.50
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.