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Yuanxia tian,Baiyun district,Guangzhou,China





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Home > wine rack

On a recent Thursday night, my dad and I decided to check out Dawat, a new Indian restaurant in Mill Woods, on the recommendation of a friend. The recommendation, as it turned out, didn‘t do Dawat any favours.

Nor did the rather inflated full name of the restaurant - Dawat Haute Cuisine of India. Maybe our expectations were a bit high going in.

On the drive over, we had chatted about our favourite subcontinental dishes and speculated about what we might order.

But we walked into a vast dining room that, at 7 p.m., was empty of customers. Three bored chefs watched through the galley window as the waiter "strongly recommended" the buffet. These were all bad omens, but we decided to be heroes about it and steeled ourselves for tandoori chicken under heat lamps. And that‘s pretty much what we got.

It‘s difficult to know what to drink with Indian food, especially at a buffet that comprises lots of different dishes. Indian restaurants inevitably have a small wine rack of French reds near the bar. Sauvignon Blanc is a better match for Indian spices, but not applicable to, say, a beef curry. In our situation, beer was the most attractive option.

My dad was impressed by Dawat‘s cooler of 100 beers, including about a dozen Asian labels.

He asked the waiter for the best and was given a Taj, which, as it turns out, was the right choice.


Later in the meal he also tried a Rani, and was less impressed with what turned out to be an "Indian-style" lager from Wisconsin. (Guess we should have known about that.)

The masala chickpeas were dull; the masala eggplant was mostly peel and stem in an indifferent sauce. But other elements of our meal were enjoyable.

The aforementioned beef curry was about the best that either of us had ever had.

I was impressed by the vegetable samosas, which were fresh and light and featured a complex mix of seasonings in lieu of the usual, safer whole cumin seed.

The lime pickle was authentic.

The naan bread had that rare and welcome whisper of sweetness.

But the tandoori chicken had been "held" too long and was dried out, although the flavour was there, lurking in the background.

Same thing with the vegetable pakoras, which had probably been delicious before they were turned into hockey pucks.

Obviously the kitchen staff at Dawat has chops, but a buffet table, with most of its offerings likely held over from lunchtime, isn‘t the best way to show them off.


My dad put it best: "This would be a great buffet if there were people here to eat it."

Dawat would be a nice place to take a large group or a family, especially if some of them were a little reticent about trying Indian dishes.

The room is simple and elegant, dominated by dark, rich colours, and with several curtained booths at the back for a more intimate occasion.

The service this night was efficient, if a little cool. And the price was certainly right: $42.13 before tip. But given the great richness of Indian eateries in this town, will my dad and I go back to Dawat? Probably not.