Read full review
2016-09-16 4490 views
I fancied an Indian dinner buffet, and my (Indian) friend recommended the "degustation" menu at The Great Indian Kebab Factory. She had previously been to the now closed TST branch and said that she very much liked the food, but to be prepared for the service to be a bit flaky. And so it turned out...We were given a window seat, which has a decent city view over some of Central and up to the mid-levels and above. This is the degustation menu at $288+10% per head (there is also an a la carte)I gu
We were given a window seat, which has a decent city view over some of Central and up to the mid-levels and above. This is the degustation menu at $288+10% per head (there is also an a la carte): (I guess the degustation menu items change from time to time - this is the September 2016 one)
The way this works is that the salad and lassis come first then the itemised starters (which I regard as the main dishes) come as they are ready. We ordered one of the veg and one of the non-veg menus. Essentially this is an "ordered buffet" - in other words, you can ask for repeats of any of the dishes that you particularly like (and can ask them simply not to bring anything that you know from the menu that you will not like).
The northern Indian style is, apparently, to serve all these "starters" and then, when you are ready you can order the "main course" (the dishes listed on the menu as "served with": the bread, biryani, dal, etc). But for me the listed starters were the highlights and I essentially filled up on those, rather than filling up on rice and bread. I think this preference was one of the issues which confused the waiters and resulted in somewhat haphazard service. Most of the staff seemed to struggle understand requests for repeats of the dishes we enjoyed, whether asked in English or in Hindi. I noted that the clientele was at least 80% ethnic Indian on the Saturday night we visited, and it appeared that they conformed more to what the staff expected (i.e. take one of each dish, then move on to the "main course").
So to the food...
The "salad isn't really a salad in the western sense - it is simply pieces of the named fruit and veg offered to you separately, with the dressings on the side. My friend chose to take the fruit at the end rather than the beginning of the meal.
The lassis come in a rack of 3 test tubes and were fine, if a little sweet for my taste. We didn't ask for repeats since we were drinking Kingfisher beer with the meal (note that this is $58+10% per bottle, which can easily make the beer cost more than the food!)
I liked all of the 12 highlighted "starters" - there is an excellent variety of flavours, textures and ingredients. The "Angaar Ka Murgh" (cinnamon chicken) and "Kaju Matar Ki Shaami Kebab" (cashew, peas & cheese) being particular favourites. Since some of these are cooked to order, a relaxed attitude to time when ordering repeats is essential. Since the waiters also seem to rely entirely on memory rather than writing anything down then occasionally different stuff turned up, but since it is an "all in" price this wasn't a big issue.
People used to the style of service more common in Indian restaurants outside northern India (i.e. with rice & bread served together with the other courses) may find it strange, as I did, that these only come at the end of the meal with some simple sauces: a dal and a butter chicken (or the same replacing chicken with paneer for the veggies). I quite liked the paratha, but the dal, biryani and butter chicken were frankly very uninteresting, which reinforces my suggestion to focus on the "starters". If I go again I may well simply do that, perhaps take one paratha and some dal, and not even bother to order the biryani and butter chicken.
For me the gulab jamun dessert was a nice way to finish, although my friend found it too sweet.
So, in summary, for a really nice selection of Indian dishes, in an "all you can eat" format, this is a pretty good choice. Just go with plenty of time and a relaxed attitude to the service, and focus on the itemised "starters"; filling up on biryani etc would not be a good way to do it! Note that the spending per head figure of $500 includes 3 beers and the 10% service charge.
Other Info. : The restaurant advertises in the building lobby that they do "2 for 1" on the degustation menu on Mondays with "terms and conditions apply". I'm not sure what those are, but if this is genuinely the same experience as other nights at $144+10% per head then that would be stunning value, and definitely worth a trip.(The above review is the personal opinion of a user which does not represent OpenRice's point of view.)