Monday, 12 August 2013

Friends Indian Restaurant and Sweets Edmonton, AB - Best moist and flavorful tandoori in Edmonton!

I swear, I should have bought a lottery ticket. I randomly chose this reaturant to try in the deep south for the heck of it one weekend… and we’ve been back 3 times since! Not only is their food tasty, but I found the holy grail of Indian cooking… tandoori chicken that’s actually moist, succulent and oh soo damn good! I nearly had my Indian friends jump me when I casually mentioned it to them later on in the week! Anyways.. onto the food!
As you set into the restaurant, you’re greeted by a display case piled high with enough sweet to make anyone diabetic to your left, and a dining room with dark woods and elegant spiral crystal chandeliers. They’re still pretty new at this, so service is while friendly, still needs a fair amount of polish.

the DRINKS
There’s alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available, and we zeroed in on their mango lassi as we weren’t sure if we’ll need it to drown out spiciness levels later. The mango lassi was quite creamy with yogurt and had a good punch of concentrated mango pulp in it.

the FOOD
We’re always started off with a platter of crisps served with a red hued sweet tamarind dipping sauce, and a mint green chili based sauce. I’m always tempted to pack home the mint chili sauce as it would be wicked with fish pakora!

I was originally planning to order the paneer makhani, but as it was served in essentially a similar sauce as the butter chicken, we went with our server’s suggestion of Kadhai Paneer instead. Generous amounts of soft cubes of paneer (unsalted unripened Indian cheese that’s like a cross between soft tofu and mozzarella) absorb a flavorful tomato based sauce of spices with pepper and coriander seed as a dominant note.

I love cheese, and paneer is no exception! The sauce its swimming in grows on you the more you eat it and at the end of the night, I found I enjoyed this dish more than the butter chicken.


Butter chicken is one of my boyfriend’s favorites, so we had to try their version.
Built on a very tomatoe-y base, this aromatic version is less thickened and buttery then most renditions we’ve tried.

A little swirl of cream ups the richness of this dish, and though the portion sizes look deceivingly tinny tiny, we had more than enough leftover for lunch the next day.

the NAAN
We’re not the only ones that don’t eat rice and fill up on hot fresh out of the oven naan right..? We’ll, you’re missing out! Over out last 3 meals, we’ve tried:

Regular naan – soft on the inside with a nice slightly crisp exterior, it’s a nice neutral base to scoop up various curries

Garlic naan – redolent in garlic infused oil, its hard not to love, though your entire table may need a mint or three after!

Coconut naan – its covered in generous amounts of toasted coconut so its best eaten alone or with anything you typically enjoy coconut rice with.

This wasn’t naan per-say...

It’s a savory mixture of finely finely shredded chicken breast with fresh herbs and spices sandwiched between some crisp-soft dough and baked that worked well as an shared appetizer.

the CURRIES
We gave three out of the many curries they had a try... as we were ordering all off the menu and not from the buffet, the kitchen can adjust the seasonings so you can have your selections not spicy mild and all the way up to insanely spicy.

The first was a goat curry. This mild (as we ordered everything mild), earthy, medium-rich curry with a bood body had a good amount of meaty chunks of tender goat and diced vegetables in it

The fish/seafood curry was the only one that fell short, as the seafood was overcooked a bit.

We forgot to ask for the infernally spicy Vindaloo dish to be made the way it should as we had some foodies that wanted to try the flavorful and typically insanely spicy dish. It came out mild and though it was missing most of the chili pepper factor (as we did ask for everything to be made mild at the beginning oops!), it was still a dish packed with flavor.

the TANDOORI MEATS
Alright, here’s the moist, aromatic and flavorful tandoori chicken I’ve been estatic to discover in Edmonton! Its served on a hot sizzling plate on a bed of vegetables that are largely ignored. The hot plate surprisingly doesn’t overcook the chicken but keeps it warm (probably as it cooks the vegetable bed instead).

If you’ve tried tandoori chicken elsewhere in the city, you’ve come to expect dry, dry chicken jerky renditions… and luckily it wasn't the case here!

but you can practically see the flavorful juices ooze tantalizingly out as you pierce a piece with your fork.

Hubba hubba!! Forget about anything else these guys make, I can eat this all day!

At our third time around, we tried the fish tandoori. We figured if the chef nailed the chicken tandoori, they’ll likely also make an excellent fish tandoori, and we weren’t disappointed!

Buttery moist fish marinated with aromatic spices and a slow spicy heat that builds up as you eat more. Nom!

Out of the 3 times we’ve been, we’ve been too stuffed to try their desserts, and packed food home to boot. Next time!

the VERDICT
Hands down the best place in Edmonton for moist moist moist tandoori chicken with friendly service and tasty paneer and curry dishes. With time, Friends will iron out the start-up bumps and be a go-to place for Indian fare in the deep south.

Friends Indian Restaurant and Sweets
Address 469 Parson Rd, Edmonton, AB T6X1N4
Phone (780) 490-4412
Hours Open daily for lunch and dinner
Friends Indian Restaurant & Sweets on Urbanspoon
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