The Indian Spice Kitchen has fast become one of Scarborough’s popular Indian restaurants. On most days, the place is packed with students, families and those in line for takeout.
The staff is friendly and the service is efficient, but since opening in 2009, the quality of food seems to be decreasing.
The aroma of different spices and freshly made naans — oven-baked flat bread — drew me to the buffet.
For starters, I had pani puri, hollow balls of crispy dough filled with potatoes, chickpeas, onions and spicy tamarind water. The puri tasted stale and was not as crispy as it is traditionally supposed to be.
I moved on to one of my favourite appetizers: pakoras. They were delicious and reminded me of my grandmother’s cooking, possibly the greatest compliment I can give.
To drink, I asked for a glass of Coke but was told they had run out, leaving me with a choice root beer, ginger ale and C’Plus. Well, you can’t go wrong with root beer.
The buffet offers a wide variety of dishes, including masala aloo (potatoes cooked in spices), chicken tikka masala (chicken cooked in a clay oven), and the staple Indian dish dal makhni (black lentils cooked with milk and sometimes butter).
But the main course that followed didn’t meet expectations.
I ate chicken tikka masala, masala aloo and chana masala (white chickpeas) with naan.
The chicken tikka masala was slightly burnt and bland. According to the label at the buffet, it was cooked in spicy sauce but my taste buds didn’t pick up on any hint of it.
The masala aloo and chana masala fared better, featuring the right amount of spice and masala. The potatoes were tender but the chickpeas weren’t as soft as they’re supposed to be.
The naans were good: crispy, yet soft and buttered.
For dessert I had gulab jamun, hot dumplings. Succulent and sweet, the gulab jamun were one of the more memorable parts of the meal.
And the price? My non-vegetarian buffet came to $10.99 before taxes.