Monday, October 05, 2009

Empress of India

Empress of India
103 King Street North
Waterloo, Ontario N2J 2X5

In short, I was not impressed by the Empress. I had fairly high expectations going in; this was their second location (first one is in Guelph) and their website shows some beautifully photographed Indian cuisine. Unfortunately, the food presented at the restaurant came no where close to what I had anticipated.

But let's back up a little. The restaurant recently opened on King St., taking over the very old and tired Maharaja Palace by the north end of Uptown Waterloo. The dark and dreary atmosphere of the old place has been livened up considerably, although the buffet equipment seems like it may have been handed down from the old owners. I was there for the lunch buffet which consisted of two large old steam tables, one with very typical butter chicken, tandoori chicken, naan bread, potato dishes, bean and yogurt sauces, and the other with non-descript salads and rice pudding. While the food was fresh and tasted fine, frankly, the equipment turned me off - it did not convey the message that they were attempting to be anything more than the average buffet.

I suppose I should give them the benefit of the doubt since I'm not very well-versed with Indian cuisine, and perhaps this is just north americanized Indian food similar to the Chinese buffets from the 70's and 80's and I wasn't ordering the right items. Their à la carte menu looks like it has a more depth to it, but after my experience with the lunch, I haven't been inspired to return for another sampling.