So I’ve finished my first week working in Moncton … I saw the Super Tidal Bore and bought some lobster in the Airport … so what else is a consultant supposed to be doing in town during the week? I’ll give you a hint …
There is nothing else on the agenda because there is simply no time during the day to see anything else. It is with this focus, that eating becomes the main tourist activity for consultants. Walking through the core of downtown spans from the Crowne Plaza Moncton to the Marriott SpringHill Suites and this takes about 10 minutes – that’s it!
In our first week here, we ended up eating at 4 places
- Pisces Restaurant
- The Tide and Boar Gastropub
- The Pumphouse
- Taj Mahal Flavour of India
But today’s post, I’m just going to focus on the worst of the lot, because it warrants it’s own review. The Tide and Boar and Pumphouse were excellent and I strongly recommend those places … but back to …
Taj Mahal Flavour Of India
Since my initial review in July, I’ve had takeout, a couple times from Taj Mahal … if simply because of the dearth of quality ethnic food options in Moncton. I’ve since retitled the header of the post, since it’s not fair of me to skewer a place and then have dishes from the place. My team also consistently orders from them, so I have to put some stock in the fact that they’ve improved or listened to feedback, else my team wouldn’t be ordering from them every week. In the end, I’ve been pleased with the changes I’ve seen, even with my orders. My spicy Chicken Biryani requests have come out the way I would expect it to come out. In the end, when I’m as harsh I was with a review, I owe it to the proprietors to repeat a couple times, especially as my experience in the Maritimes over the last couple months (NB, PEI and NS) has indicated that finding even decent ethnic food is a challenge here. I have also realized that my Toronto expectations for portion size will simply never be met in the Maritimes, when it comes to ethnic food … all the restaurants I’ve been to whether Chinese, Viet, Thai or Indian all have consistent portion sizes – so I can’t fault Taj Mahal for that either. Maybe in the end, I might actually change the title of this post from
- Taj Mahal Flavour of India, Moncton : A culinary abortion
- Taj Mahal Flavour of India, Moncton : Getting Better!
in time, we might even get to …
- Taj Mahal Flavour of India, Moncton : Pretty decent Indian food
I’ve since gone back twice for take out at the restaurant, since I found that of the two real options for Indian food in Moncton, Taj Mahal is actually the better one. The other option of Asian Garden, doesn’t even warrant a review … as the food was just poor, but they did have very friendly service and were very accommodating to our corporate split bill requests. In the end, if you’re in Moncton, Taj Mahal is the best option for Indian food, which is sad but true.
I’ve since had multiple portions of the Chicken Biryani, Chili Chicken and Beef Vindaloo at Taj Mahal. I’ve found the following:
- The Chicken Biryani is passable, especially if you’re craving something Indian. It’s not terribly good, but it’s not terribly bad either, just average.
- The Chili Chicken has gotten better as they actually listen now, when we request it to be super spicy. It is a little better than average.
- The Vindaloo is still god awful terrible. The next time, I’ll order it specifically and do a video review on it. Whoever is making it, needs to learn from someone else.
Oh … where do I even start with this excuse and abortion of an Indian restaurant? In a town like Moncton, I would expect that the seafood, fish & chips and other maritime goodies to be awesome … and you would be right – see Pisces Restaurant for their basin of mussels for $13. I would also assume that in a town where the height of diversity was the Indian consultants walking into an Indian restaurant (i.e. me and my co-workers … how cliche!) … you couldn’t get a good Indian meal to save your life. If you made this assumption, you would be completely right.
I had eaten at Taj Mahal many years ago and I thought the food was bland, insipid and uninspired Indian fare back then. After eating there again this week … I was again treated to bland, insipid and uninspired Indian fare again but at a higher price point! I really thought I was crazy, when I first read some of the recent reviews of this restaurant on Yelp and TripAdvisor. The reviews are awesome … but then again, the majority of people won’t put harsh but honest criticism of any restaurant online, hence the preponderance of positivity – which is a complete travesty to your taste buds and wallet.
I didn’t mind the boring decor and average service … I don’t care about these things in a restaurant … in my opinion, it’s a bonus when the restaurant has those elements. You get the idea from the pictures below … btw, it seems that the decor hasn’t changed since 2006
I didn’t even mind the very average service … there was only one poor waitress there serving the entire restaurant. Our overworked Caucasian server was running around like a headless chicken between 6 tables. I do mind however, when I order Chili Chicken and Beef Vindaloo with some Lalcha Paratha and the Paratha was the only truly edible thing on my side of the table.
I also mind when someone insults my intelligence. The Vindaloo is described as this …
- Vindaloo: Chicken, Beef or Lamb
A popular Hot & Sour Goan style delicacy. Tender boneless meat cooked In fiery sauce with tender potatoes. Boneless lamb or chicken mixed with minced lamb or chicken, cooked with whole spices in rich creamy cashew sauce. $12.99 – 13.99
What I got was a reheated pile of @@$@ … with 6 pieces of beef and two pieces of potato smothered in what tasted like a bottle of store bought Vindaloo sauce. You can even see the congealed oil on the sides of the bowl… trying to run away from this culinary abortion. It’s stuff like this that makes people afraid of eating Indian food.
My coworker has other meals … Butter Chicken, Rogan Josh and rice. My Marathi colleague was embarrassed at the food, having convinced me to come back here … but I’m going to come back again, just to ensure that I give this restaurant a super fair shake.
The final part of awesomeness was the actual bill. If I told any Indian person in India or Toronto that I paid 43$ CDN for this culinary abortion, they would simply laugh at me for picking this place. Obviously the joke is on me … especially, since I have to come back and eat here for a third time … just to be fair.
You can click and see my other UrbanSpoon reviews … so in the end … here are the bullet points
- Highly average service
- Bland Decor
- Completely poor food … yet the 91% rating from 85 people. I would love to know how many Indian people rated this restaurant