With a seating capacity of over 450 people, Tandoori Flame is North America’s largest Indian buffet featuring up to 150 food items and 12 food stations. They recently expanded to the west coast with two existing locations in Greater Toronto (Mississauga and Brampton). Tandoori Flame is a family-run business owned by the Gulati family – who immigrated to Canada from Mumbai, India. The original owners of the Greater Toronto locations were actually underperforming and eventually got bought out by the by the Gulati family and revamped it into the success it is today. From what I have been informed, a few of the chefs at this location were personally handpicked all the way from India to help with the launch – even the manager! Embarrassing enough to say, I’m a huge fan of Indian food, but actually do not go out my way for Indian cuisine very often! The price point for Indian cuisine can get quite expensive when you add up the appetizers, entrées, and dessert, but buffet style? I was excited to eat as much as I could stomach.
Last month, I missed the opportunity to check out their launch party, but was fortunate enough to get invited again for a more intimate setting along other fellow foodies for another evening of fun sampling more Indian food than I could fathom. Items available on their buffet are on a rotation basis – this could be daily, weekly, and based on season. Ultimately, at Tandoori Flame, they want to provide an ultimate cultural experience to those who have never sampled authentic Indian cuisine before. Think you know what Indian food is all about? Think again. It’s not just about the butter chicken and curry!
The bartender behind their crafty fusion-flare drinks is originally from Cactus Club! Good mix of fun non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks fit for all ages 🙂
Alcoholic Drinks Menu
Masala Shikanji (complimentary) Since we arrived early for our media event, the boyfriend were seated at the bar for a complimentary drink. Boyfriend’s drink was mixed with cool Indian spices, topped with soda. Shikanji is an Indian version of lemonade with spieces like black salt, roasted cumin powder, black pepper powder, and ginger. I couldn’t taste much lemonade in it as the soda tasted flat, but the spices were very prominent. Definitely something out of my comfort zone!
Mango Lassi (complimentary) I’m sure everyone knows of this popular Indian drink! It was such a treat drinking it! Delicious blend of sweet and rich mango with yogurt, and sugar. Traditional ones contain cardamon, but I couldn’t taste a hint of it! I would have preferred the mango lassi to be blended up much better as it was quite thick and lukewarm. Perhaps more chilled with a blend of ice to thin out the liquid. Otherwise, it was pretty solid!
This was where our media group sat at! Given the large venue, it felt quite intimate. They also have a patio available as well!
The layout of the floor plan offering menu variety and a good balance of self-service and exhibition stations for you to see the chefs interacting with patrons. We were able to get around and check out and sample all the different stations!
They recommend you start with the appies first – there’s almost an assembly line going for you to work your way around at the buffet. These are a few popular Indian snacks (but I can’t remember any of them except the pani puri in the far right!)
You’ll find that there are a lot of spices and sauces nicely spread out at each station for you to customize.
Close up of their fresh naan!
Another demo we got to see live was their Channa Bhatura (deep-fried bread)!
Fruit/Salad/Soup Station – they do have a few ‘Americanized’ items like pasta salads, egg and potato salad,
First Round: Pani-puri, samosas, spring roll. For those of you who are unfamiliar, pani-puri is a popular savoury street food that consists of hollow puffed rice filled with tamarind water, tomatoes, chutney, onion, and/or chickpeas. Most people like to fill it up with a little bit of everything for the ultimate experience. To be honest, the whole experience was a little underwhelming – I had expected more given how much they pushed this snack for us to try. The flavours weren’t as bold and spices weren’t as distinctive.
Second Round : Broccoli and Potato Salad, Keema Mateer, and Butter Chicken
Keema Mateer: A stewed curry dish of minced beef, mutton, with green peas and potatoes.
Butter Chicken: Marinated Chicken Simmered with Spices in Traditional Indian Style
Boyfriend and I both loved the keema mateer as it had plenty of flavour and a good amount of heat to go with some rice. As for the butter chicken, which was what I was most excited about, was a huge disappointment. The chicken was overcooked, too tangy with not enough cream neutralize the acidity of the tomato sauce.
Third Round: Naan, Garlic Naan, Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Biryani Rice
The garlic naan was hands down the most memorable food item of the evening. Eating it fresh out of the oven makes such a huge difference! Lightly charred with crackling thin, crisp crust and soft and chewy on the inside. It was the perfect accompaniment to all the sauce and curries we were eating! The tandoori chicken was marinated very well, but the meat was overcooked, resulting in an unpleasant dry texture. The rice was a little too spicy for my liking.
Boyfriend and I were getting pretty full at this point, so we went back to sample a few more unique items. We tried Lasooni Chicken, Fish Pakora, and Paneer Masala. The Lasooni Chicken was served boneless with hints of green chutley and yogurt marinade, but again, the chicken was overcooked and dry. Fish Pakora was nicely battered and light to eat. A nice twist on fried fish ! Paneer Masala was pretty standard- just your usual Indian cottage cheese fry with sauce.
Instead of dessert, I grabbed a few more snacks to much on while boyfriend happily enjoyed his ice cream.
Overall, the boyfriend and I had fun sampling an array of Indian cuisine. Although some where hit and misses, the experience was interactive and fun.
Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media event. All food and drinks were complimentary. Opinions are my own.