Gandhi Restaurant is about a block or two walk from my work. It’s a popular place and a fairly crowded during lunch time on weekdays. The days I don’t bring lunch are the best time for me to look around downtown and taste different places.
This is a Panda Express style Indian fast-food place. They don’t have buffet or menu items. You have the option to choose from chicken, lamb, or different kinds of vegetable dishes. I had spicy chicken with eggplant curry. The amount of rice, curries, and naan I got for $9 is amazing. I walked over to the chutney/raita place to add some on my plate.
Both chicken and eggplant tasted nice for the first few bites. Then I kind of lost the appetite. I started feeling like I am just eating very mediocre type Indian food made for people who never had gourmet or good quality Indian food. The rice was completely buried and got mushy under all the gravy from chicken. Half way thru, I didn’t even feel like packing the rest of my food to bring it home, because I knew I wouldn’t eat it anymore.
I haven’t tried the other items here at Gandhi Restaurant but I doubt if I will ever go back there again. The customer service is great here and couple people at my work actually recommended this place…just not my type of Indian food.
I’ve been waiting for a good Pakistani-style kabab and biriyani place in Portland for a while now. And after one of my friends mentioned about Zaiqa, I was more than desperate to try this new place. By the way readers, if you know of any other Pakistani kabab places in the Portland area, please let me know.
Zaiqa is a brand new Pakistani/Indian, also Mediterranean restaurant very close to the Hillsboro airport, where Urban Masala used to be once. My friend and I were there last evening, on a weeknight, around 8pm. It was empty for a while, until couple other people showed up. While the owner and the waiter are still learning their ways in the new business and how to please the customers, their friendliness was 5-stars. Yes, we had to shout “excuse me” few times to get us a table and we were not given the shiniest and cleanest plates nor served with water when our glasses were totally empty or the fact that the guy took away my left over beef kabab without asking me and gave me a take away box only for my chicken kababs. But the owner came and talked to us for a while and mentioned he was a pilot and his chef has a master degree in mathematics. They are just doing this for fun, to earn money, and kind of as a project to explore business ideas.
Zaiqa is a halal/kosher place where variety of meats used here are slaughtered in proper Muslim/Jewish way. This is not only a Southeast Asian place, the menu also covers little bit of Mediterranean tastes too. We ordered beef kabab, chicken kabab, garlic naan, and chana daal tarkkah. It took little bit longer than usual, given that we were the only customers at that time. But the owner came and assured us that the chef cooks everything from scratch and with fresh ingredients…that’s why the long wait. And of course, once our food arrived, we could taste that in our dishes. The kababs were fantastic. Again, the I loved the kababs, especially the beef skewers. They were moist, soft, perfectly seasoned, and will hit your spot right away. We requested to make them extra hot. But spice level wasn’t up to our standard and we were expecting a little bit more kick. The daal was very flavorful and the garlic naans were fresh out of the oven with beautiful aroma.
Despite some of the obvious flaws of this restaurant, the owner was very honest about how he wants to improve his business. He told us specifically to go to Google, Facebook page, and Yelp to review their restaurants, so that they can learn and improve. I can care less for those small things if the food satisfies my soul. And it did. The friend who recommended me this place, said to go try their brunch items…I just couldn’t wait until Saturday or Sunday to do that. But I’ll come back again during their brunch time someday (where they have halwa, puri and nehari). Another thing I have to try here is their biriyani (I love Pakistani-style biriyani). I think I have found my perfect desi kababs here and I am even thinking of catering their kababs for large gatherings and events.
Zaiqa’s buffet is only during lunch time if anyone is interested in that. Please go check it out, I can guarantee you that you will love the place and if you try their brunch, biriyanis, or other dishes, do let me know how they were.
How does Oriental Biriyani sound to you? Quite funky, right? Inchin’s Bamboo Garden is a nation-wide Halal/Kosher Asian franchise, inspired by both Chinese and Indian flavors. Our Hillsboro location in Oregon is a brand new branch which replaced the previous “New Taste of India”. This new fusion place is much fresher and trendier looking with better customer service and bigger menu items. Although they have branches in other states, their menu varies from state to state, depending on the local produces and tastes.
With a good variety of vegan and gluten-free options, Inchin’s Bamboo Garden also serves halal/kosher dishes. This is a place where Oriental cuisine meets Indian spices; meaning dishes are kind of like the Indian version of Oriental/Asian food. Last night was my 2nd time in this restaurant and I had my sister, my girls, a close friend, and her parents. I have to say food here is consistently good.
Speaking of their menu, we ordered tom yum soup (which has the options of veg. and non-veg) and spring rolls as starters. Check out their plenty of non-meat options in the menu if you are a vegan or vegetarian. For main course, we had spicy Thai basil fried rice, hakka noodles, chicken-65 fried rice, lamb cumin, sliced fish in manchurian sauce, and eggplant in chili bean sauce. Spices in each dish can be adjusted to your taste. Vegetable spring rolls were perfectly crunchy and tasty. Tom yum soup smelled fresh with lots of cilantro and heat from red chilies. Both of the fried rice dishes were delish with perfect amount of spice and flavors, though the noodles turned out to be very dull looking without much flavors in it. Eggplant was probably one of the best, cooked with Chinese long eggplants in thin slices with big chunks of red onions. And for the lamb dish, my 8-year old girl loved it and my friend who doesn’t eat lamb or goat meat had it twice…now, that should tell you something. And the manchurian fish with onions was a little above average with little bit of gravy and lots of red pepper flakes. The Dishes are perfect for 2/3 or even 4 people, depending on how many other dishes you are ordering.
But the menu has so many other options like paneer dishes, dumplings, salads, tacos, Chinese bhel-puri, and of course, other Mongolian, szechwan, kung-pao, and curry style plates. But be careful, if you are not into spicy food, tell them to tone it down. They also sell sauces that they serve in the restaurant for $3 each bottle.
Customer service here is great I’ve to say. They did forget to give us the only one Diet Coke that we ordered. But the waiter gave it to us at the end and didn’t charge for it, which was at least sincere. They do take reservations, if you want to call in ahead of time. Being conveniently located near Intel RA campus with plenty of parking spaces, it does get busy during lunch time and therefore, services can be slow (or so I heard).
Inchin’s Bamboo Garden has some unique qualities which not many restaurants nearby may have all in one place, like their fusion Indian/Oriental dishes, halal/kosher preparation of meat, variety of vegan/vegetarian options, and finally an elegant looking place where you can bring your guests for a decent treat. Would highly recommend it to my peeps.
Since I’m originally from Bangladesh, a small country right beside India, I usually don’t go to Indian restaurants knowing I’ll be spending money on something that I can probably cook at home. But then again Indian cuisine varies from South India to North India and then to vegan, vegetarian, and meat lovers. Every once in a while, I do crave for certain tastes from that country and that’s when I hit my favorite Indian spots in town.
Today, I was hungry like an elephant when I went out for my lunch break and I could only think about one thing…rice. Not just any Asian style rice, but Indian style basmati rice and daal (lentil) and curry. Buffet…yes, I needed a place where I could just try different things without ordering ten dishes and stay within the budget at the same time.
I was in Beaverton/Hillsboro area, near 185th, and I remembered there was once an Indian restaurant here called “Lentil Garden” here, which I never tried before. But upon arriving, it looked like Bawarchi Biryanis took over Lentil Garden. But oh well, I needed some rice and daal, so the name didn’t matter, but I was praying and hoping that they would have buffet. And they DID.
Bawarchi Biryanis is all over the USA and their Portland location is on 185th. The restaurant itself is nothing fancy nor the interior is anything extraordinary. But it is homey. While customer service is just average, the place is clean and has good food.
The buffet is only available for lunch until 2:30pm, which costs about $10. If you are lucky, you can get a la carte dishes for lunch too, but not always. They are closed in between lunch and dinner. Make sure to check their hours before going for dinner. I arrived there for a late lunch around 2pm and it was pretty empty. But the buffet items looked fresh, nicely filled up, and didn’t look like they were sitting out for too long. It was my kind of buffet honestly…spicier than average Indian places with couple uncommon items that you usually don’t see in other Indian buffets, like bitter melon bhaji or papaya bhaji. It had at least three different kinds of chicken dishes, freshly made daal, 3 or 4 different kinds of vegetables and of course rice and bread. But only pakoras for appetizer and rice pudding for dessert.
I won’t probably come to Bawarchi Biryanis to celebrate an occasion or bring friends to hang out after work. But I will come here whenever I’m up for some Indian comfort food without spending a lot of bucks. And yes, I still need to try their dinner menu.