Sherman's Food Adventures: Tandoori Flame

Tandoori Flame

Although buffets aren't really that popular in Greater Vancouver, there are some to choose from.  The most readily available ones include Sunday brunch buffets at hotels, Japanese AYCE and small Indian buffets offered by sit-down restaurants.  Chinese buffets and Uncle Willy-type offerings had their time, but don't have a market at this point-in-time.  From all of the buffets listed, it has always been a curiosity to me there has never been a purpose-built Indian buffet.  Well, that has been answered with the first BC location of Tandoori Flame (hailing from Ontario).  Recently, I was invited to check the place out.

Upon entering the place, I was greeted to a modern and well-appointed dining room.  The buffet itself was separated into stations.  The curries was by far the biggest one with Halal, vegetarian and typical options (with some repeated flavours).  For my first plate, I decided to try the Butter Chicken, Nihari Gosht, Chicken Biryani and freshly-made Naan.  What struck me right away was the level of heat.  It certainly wasn't mild, which meant there was plenty of impact.  Consisting of tandoori chicken, the butter chicken was legit having a good combination of creaminess and tang.  The nihari gosht was also spicy, but the spices still came through especially the cardamom.  Continuing the theme, the biryani had a kick while the rice was nicely dry and chewy.  The freshly-made naan (in a tandoor) was nicely blistered and fluffy with an elasticity. 

There was a random array of items next to the Tandoor which included Veggie Pudina Paneer, Tandoori Fruit Chaat, Chicken Pakora, Fish Fry, Malai Murgh Tikka, Achari Murgh Tikka, Lakhnavi Seekh Kebab and Bhuna Murgh.  Of these, I thought the achari murgh tikka to be the tastiest.  I was a bit confused why they were served bone-in, but ultimately, it was succulent and tender.  I enjoyed how the rub penetrated the meat.  As expected, the freshly prepared fish fry was crispy and flaky.  However, the pieces that had been sitting around were overdone.  Like many of their other fried items, the pakora was crispy.  Not shown in any of the pictures a kid's section with fries and onion rings.  Interestingly, they were quite good, but we didn't load up on that since there was also pizza and a salad bar.

On my way back to the curries, I had the Bombay Shrimp, Dum Ka Murgh, Saag Gosht, Murgh Patiala and Chili Potato.  I really loved the coconutty creaminess of the Bombay shrimp, but since it had been sitting in the chaffing tray, the shrimp had become rubbery.  Naturally, the chicken stood up much better than the shrimp, which meant it was tender and moist.  I much preferred the patiala since it was more impactful with its classic cinnamon and cardamom flavours.  Interestingly, the french fries coated with chili sauce was rather tasty.  For dessert, there was the usual gulab jamum as well as really good soft-serve ice cream.  There was also an array of Cakes that were more of the North American variety.  This was a good alternative to the various Indian desserts.  Overall, I thought the food at Tandoori Flame to be above average (considering it was a buffet).  Considering that the place offers food stations that continuously pumps out dishes, the food is pretty fresh.  It's worth a try.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- A purpose-built Indian buffet that offers continuously prepared food at designated stations
- Good spice level
- Modern and trendy dining space

The Bad:
- Some repeated flavours with the curries
- Southern Indian dishes were a bit weak


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