Saravanaa Bhavan on West Broadway bills itself to be the "original taste of South India" and the regular line-ups of predominantly South Indian patrons waiting for tables confirm they live up to that title.
|Saravanaa Bhavan Buffet!|
Opened in Vancouver 2008, Saravanna Bhavan is part of a 32 year old chain empire expanding its spice route across the globe with 77 locations in South India, Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, UK, Germany, France, USA and Canada.
|Debbie & I enjoying a feast|
I accompanied my good friend, who is of South Asian descent, and she gave me a quick education of how to eat Saravanaa Bhavan's buffet selection of vegetarian curries and chutneys.
The small stainless steal bowls hold the various soups and chutneys (dips made with a mixture of spices, vegetables and fruits) while the six compartment mess trays help to separate the masalas, rice, and dahl (lentil based soup with spices) from mixing together. This way, you have pleasure of dipping pieces of appalam (thin fried chips made with lentil flour) or idly (steamed rice patties) into each dish and tasting their own distinctive blend of flavours.
|Appalam (Fried Chips made with lentil flour)|
|Idly (Steamed Rice Patties)|
|Paneer Butter Masala (cottage cheese in cream sauce)|
You won't be disappointed to forgo tandoori chicken or lamb vindaloo once you've loaded up on velvety paneer butter masala (cottage cheese in tomato cream sauce) and spicy chana masala (chickpea curry).
The potato masala, speckled with mustard seeds, and fluffy naan bread worked as the perfect eating vessels to scoop up the curries.
|Potato Masala (mashed potato curry)|
|Poori (sweet puffed bread)|
|Dosa (lentil crepes with mashed potato)|
|Fruit Pudding & Gulab Jamun (cottage cheese balls in soaked sugar syrup)|
My buffet favourites were the desserts. The gulab jamun, cottage cheese balls soaked in sugar syrup were decadent and perfectly sweetened while the cold fruit pudding, made with cream of wheat and tart whole red grapes, was pleasantly light and refreshing.
Saravanaa Bhavan doesn't make any apologies for their use of hot spices in most of the dishes but take solace in knowing that creamy raita (yogurt with chopped veggies and spices) is readily available to cool the heat.
The $12.99 lunch buffet is affordable, delicious and available throughout the week and most of the a la carte menu items are under $9. Saravanaa Bhavan makes use of local ingredients by switching up the buffet dishes to keep the flavours fresh throughout the seasons and will surely satisfy and fill the bellies of vegetarian and carnivores alike.
Lunch buffet $12.99, Takeout Lunch Box $5 (choice of a main dish paneer butter masala, chilly mushroom, baingan bartha or palak mutter with naan, rice, potato masala & dessert), any variety of Dosa $8.95 & Poori (2 pcs) $6.50.
955 West Broadway, Vancouver