We visited the weekend buffet at Bombay Tandoor on one summer lazy Saturday afternoon. Part of the restaurant had been walled off for a private party but the loud noises coming from the other side distracted our conversation and attention. The tables were packed closely together and we found ourselves seated right next to the buffet with a chair jutting out into the lunchtime queue. As people in the queue brushed past us, we kept drawing deeper into our table!
The food was served on laminate clad wooden tables with paper napkins. The cutlery was shiny, and clean. The stemmed water glasses were clear and inviting. The staff was dressed well and we were expecting a fine dining experience of an upscale buffet. The dining ambiance was fair to good except for the crowded tables nestled up to the food service.
In the middle of our meal, a waiter tried to borrow the seat that one of our party had left vacant when he went to serve himself food and we had to tell him that the chair was occupied despite the obvious evidence of a leftovers on a empty plate at that position.
The music speaker was directly overhead and the music was turned up. We were joking that the side buffet to the meal was this cacophony of sound from the party on the other side of the hall and the music blaring down from the speaker. The service was tardy and we had to wait for the naans to be served at our table.
The buffet was average with the requisite tandoori chicken, butter chicken and rogan josh. My complaint was that most of the dishes appeared to have been cooked with the same basic masala recipe - a gooey mess of spices, onions, garlic and tomato. The lunch buffet carried an assortment of dishes from the North and yes, from the South. They had idlis, sambhar and chutney and saag, mutter paneer, and a aloo achari. The redeeming dish were the quartered naans brought to our table fresh and hot from the tandoor and slathered in ghee. The naans were delicious.
The desserts were average and not too sweet - the rice porridge and the roasted sweet cream of wheat were passable.
At the end of the buffet, after we had gone up to the food buffet, stood in line and served ourselves and pretty much looked after ourselves, we were horrified to find the bill with a mandatory 18% tip automatically added for the $14 buffet that each of us had had. After my wife protested at the front desk, the restaurant took off the 18% tip for serving a self serve buffet and left the tip to our discretion.
Maybe our visit had hit some low point in the day for the restaurant and maybe other days are different. This was our very first visit and was probably also one of our last.
In the Washington DC Metro area there are plenty of choices for Indian restaurants and having lived in this area for many years, we have sampled a lot of them. The Tysons and Vienna area itself has many good places ranging from Indian fast food (Amma's Kitchen) to fusion style Indian food (Turmeric).while Fairfax boasts a very nice pure vegetarian restaurant Saravana Palace. Bombay Tandoor definitely needs to amp its game for my business.
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