I wouldn’t necessarily travel to Richmond for Indian cuisine, but thanks to the “Feast Dining Festival” I had a reason to. This is the 2nd year of the “Asian Dining festival”, where a discounted price and a special menu invites diners down to Richmond to check out restaurants that they might otherwise know about, or think to visit. With over 30 different restaurants to try, there is something for everyone including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Indian cuisine. The festival is running from now until November 18th.

And in order to get me to Richmond and around the island city, I had the use of the 2020 “Subaru Ascent” for the week. And although Richmond is convenient to get to via the Canada skytrain, nothing beats a comfortable ride in a well build vehicle.

I was excited to see how busy the restaurant was on a Tuesday. I figured majority of the patrons were here for the festival. However, there wasn’t a sign of this menu in sight. I had to ask for one to be able to order the following.

For $36 you got you choice of 4 dishes in their customizable set meal. And with plenty of rice and naan as sides, this feeds two with leftovers. For your appetizer and entree you get a choice of two from a list of 5-6 items. The following is what we had.

To start, we had some drinks. My guest enjoyed his strong chai tea. However, I was less enthusiastic with my “mango lassi”. As the first taste of the night, it really set the tone for everything else to follow. Despite the chilled temperature of the glass, the beverage itself was room temperature warm. I have never had lassi like this, and would imagine that a yogurt-based drink would be refrigerated. I brought my concern up to one of the two young servers, and her solution was to put the glass in the fridge to chill it. This did little and I missed not having it to sip on for half my meal. As for the drink itself it was thick and tart, not fresh, creamy, and chilled like I wanted.

Similarly, a lot of the food came at the wrong temperature. I took little photos and was quick to allow my hungry guest to eat, so sadly this was a miss on the kitchen’s part.

The “vegetarian pakora” was warm on the outside, but room temperature within. The batter heated, the cauliflower and eggplant not. I am guessing that a microwave was used to reheat it? The pakora was also overwhelmingly salty, with a dry and floury coating. I wanted to dip it in the sauce for some flavour and moisture, but it only made things saltier. The green sauce was a spicy and tangy green chilli. And the red, a sweet and sour blend with a low burn.

The “Chicken samosa” had a similar dry and oily exterior to it, but at least it was warmed throughout. As for the flavour, it fell a little flat with the curry spices. I needed more depth, though the same dipping sauces above helped. I would have also preferred the chicken meat shredded, instead of ground and mealy, and more peas to freshen each bundle up.

Both of the deep fried dishes together was a little too much, a little too greasy, leaving me wanting a green salad for some balance in the set.

Next were the mains, the “Lamb tikka” was exciting. Served sizzling of a hot plate, with tongs so large that it made scooping up the chunks of meat cumbersome. Once again the food felt reheated. The lamb was dry and over cooked, a noticeable contrast to the crispy seared green peppers and onions. The best part of this was the sauce on the side, much like the butter chicken one below, but fully heated.

The thick chunks of chicken in the “Butter chicken” weren’t heated throughout. It at least had a nice soften texture to it, and the sauce was plenty delicious. I especially enjoyed the butter chicken as a dip with the light and fluffy naan, or over the perfectly prepared basmati rice. Both of these sides with this sauce was my favourite part of this set.

Honestly, majority of what we had was tasty, and would be better if given another spin in the microwave. But how do you broach that conversation? “Can I please have this reheated?” Given their unwillingness to remake my lassi, I decided not to bother, and instead pack it all up for leftovers. Lunch or dinner the next day, where I would be able to heat everything up to an ideal temperature, myself.

Not to mention the two young women working the front of house lacked lustre. They didn’t make eye contact and seemed like they didn’t want to be here tonight. Almost like they were a teenage daughter and niece working for their family. Given the number of comfortable guests ordering so much, I expected more relationship building and small chat to foster a community. But I guess there aren’t many Indian restaurants in Richmond, and as the only one in the area with decent pricing, they are still the go-to.

The food was good, it’s just a shame that it wasn’t fresh and that there wasn’t any noise coming from out of the kitchen. For more restaurants to try as a part of the “Feast Asian Dining” event, visit their website link below. https://asianfeast.ca/

 

TANDOORI KONA
11700 Cambie Rd #170, Richmond, BC V6X 1L5
(604) 279-9259
tandoorikonarichmond.com

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