Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Eating off the Hill: Indian food for white folks at Roast N Curries

Don't worry, I haven't been eating out. But I do have a few backlogged meals I now have time to blog while distancing, which brings me to my craving a few weekends back for Indian food.

Some quick googling found I was just down the street from one of the higher-rated Indian reasturants in Ottawa -- Roast N Curries, on Bank Street at Nepean. In fact, I've walked by it most every day on the way to work for over four years but never thought to drop in. So on this day, I did.

It was quiet around the lunching hour, and I was the only customer, so service was quick. Now I'm far from an Indian food expert, but having lived in Scarborough for a decade I've had a decent amount of exposure to good Indian food, from the hole in the wall to the fancy -- and have developed an expectation and a decent spice tolerance.

I would call the menu here Indian food by the numbers -- you have all the major items you would expect to see, but nothing overly adventerous. And no mention of heat. Butter chicken, curries, korma, assorted veggie options all on offer.

Nothing really jumped out so I kept it simple and went with a classic: butter chicken. I got the combo, which also came with my choice of naan (which was garlic), samosa (which was chicken) and salad. And a soft drink

I got a good helping of food for my $18, so I certainly didn't leave hungry. But I did leave underwhelmed.

I'll start with the sides. The garlic naan was excellent. Hot, flavourful, buttery garlicky. The samosa was OK, a little too veg heavy for a chicken samosa, and not as good as the Rinag chicken samosas I've been vibing on sold at Herb & Spice down the street. The salad was the same basic salad every South Asian reasturant serves.

Butter chicken over basmati rice. I liked that it was breast meat, it wasn't dry, and it was a good portion. But the sauce was just bland. It lacked body. No spice. I know you need to cater to all palates, but if I had been asked, I'd have asked for a medium spice. This was blandy bland bland. Which is why my bullet review when folks have asked has been Indian food for white people. Scarborough has spoiled me. I can't go back.

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