This year, we decided to eat our favourite cuisine – Indian – for Valentine’s Day. That’s probably not a shock, but I must say, French was a big contender for a bit since they are known for romance! After much debate, discussing food and atmosphere, we eventually settled on Tantra. We booked on the eve of Valentine’s Day…
Let me put it out there now: it’s not often you get this level of service…at any restaurant. Let alone an Indian one. An owner dressed in a sharp suit, who purposely checks for your name, then calls you by it as he leads you to your table. Clean-pressed shirts and perfectly presented ties adorn staff who smile as they explain things to you – such as the specials – where they detail how the food is cooked, what herbs and spices are used, and what will go well with it if you decide to order that dish.
All this fuss was much appreciated; however, to be honest, we did expect it since we ate at Tantra about 9 months ago with the same level of service back then. The atmosphere was perfect for a romantic dinner for Two Bears to sit stuffing their faces with glutenous curries, rice and bread ≧◉◡◉≦ Dimly lit dining room, candles, music, chattering of other patrons. Ahhh, nice.
|Garlic Naan, Veg Biryani, Shahi Paneer|
Shawn and I reckon that of all the cuisines we’ve tried so far, Indian is one of those where you can take home leftovers and they’re potentially just as good – if not better – the next day. So, with that logic, we decide to go for gold tonight! Despite the very kind warnings from our servers saying, “You realize, that’s a lot of food” and “you might do with just one instead“, we kindly nodded back and persevered in ordering way too much. We did let our server know we’re unashamed of taking home glorious food to enjoy as leftovers if need be.
I tried the Amritsari Paneer Tikka ($10.95), which is basically paneer and veg done tandoori style and it was f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c! It’s very rare a vegetarian gets to experience tandoori flavours (unless you like mushrooms), so having this entree really started my meal off right – with something new, and something delicious! Shawn got the Tandoor Champ ($13.95) which were lamb chops cooked in a variety of spices that were, in his words “very good, but not my favourite.” We were so excited to eat our entrees that I forgot to take a photo…Oh well, next time! 😉
|Beef Rogan Josh, Aloo Gobi, Potato Kulcha|
Okay, 3 mains tonight. Yup 3. Beef Rogan Josh ($15.95) which was dark and rich in flavour with slivers of fresh ginger on top. A definite “must have again” dish for Shawn! We then got the Shahi Paneer ($12.95) which consisted of fat pieces of paneer bobbing around a gorgeous nutty & creamy sauce. An absolute stand out of a dish and one that I will have to order again when we go back! Our third main was the Aloo Gobi ($11.95), which is cauliflower and potato done in a more dry-ish sauce, a little on the greasy side – but then again, it usually is. Sharp and somewhat tangy, it was good – but completely and utterly overshadowed by the Shahi Paneer.
We added to these lovely dishes a Vegetable Biryani ($9.95), which is sort of the Indian version of fried rice. Tasting it on its own uncovered it was over-seasoned (too salty), but covered up with the sauces from those wonderful curries – you couldn’t tell. We’ve had brilliant Biryani at other places before, so I’m going to chalk this up to an innocent seasoning mishap.
We had a Garlic Naan ($3.95) – light, fluffy and crunchy in all the right spots; but what we believe might have been 1 piece too few from what we’re used to getting. The Potato Kulcha ($3.95) was a yummy little bread stuffed with potato, a little harder to dip into our curries, but delicious nonetheless. Corkage for our bottle of wine was $3.00 per person.
Overall, a stellar evening – from atmosphere, to service, to food. Yup, another Holy Trio in my foodie book! Putting the over-salted Biryana aside, the rest of our meal was delicious, with that Shahi Paneer bordering a Nirvana-exeprience for us both!! Without a shadow of a doubt, Tantra is going onto our regular circuit of Indian eateries….we’ll be back….we’ll be back….
Flavour: ★★★★★ ✔
Service: ★★★★★ ✔
Atmosphere: ★★★★★ ✔