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Gandhi:

Indian Charm in Old Montreal

RESTAURANT INDIAN OLD MONTREAL MODERATE <$40

The Pitch

We haven't been to Gandhi since before they expanded into the space next door many years ago, so a revisit was long overdue.  We've also both been making a lot of Indian food at home lately, and thought we could try "restaurant" Indian for a change.

The Mood

We've always thought that Gandhi was one of the most charming Indian eateries in town, what with its location on historic Saint-Paul Street and its intimate setting.  The restaurant was pretty full tonight, mostly with tourists and a middle-aged crowd.

The Food

Food Image

Gandhi's menu is made up of a host of staple Indian dishes from all over the sub-continent, although mostly from the Eastern and Northern regions.  It has a great table d'hôte consisting of a starter, main, veggies, rice or bread, dessert, and chai or coffee, ranging from $25.50 to $32.50, a great value if you ask us.  We went à la carte however, and added a ½ bottle of Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2010 for $19.25, a markup of only 2x compared to the SAQ.

Mulligatawny Soup thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Starter

Starter

$5.50

$5.50

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Mulligatawny Soup

"A traditional Anglo-Indian spiced soup, made of chicken broth and vegetables, perfumed with coriander".  We were under the impression that Mulligatawny has chicken, beef or lamb and is thickened with rice.  This one had none of the above, and frankly tasted like minestrone with some Indian spices, kind of bland.

Onion Bhajee thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Starter

Starter

$6.25

$6.25

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Onion Bhajee

"Onion fritters seasoned and fried in Indian butter".  The texture of these fritters was good being fluffy and moist, but their flavor was a little lacking as we were looking for more of an onion presence.  They also felt somewhat heavy and oily from the frying.

Biryani Chicken thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Main

Main

$18.50

$18.50

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Biryani Chicken

"Seasoned chicken breast pieces blended with basmati saffron rice, served with vegetable curry".  We are used to biryanis with pronounced spices and a mixture of nuts.  This one had neither; maybe it was from a different region unfamiliar to us.  The rice was almost bland and the chicken pieces were dry.  However, we appreciated the coconut vegetable flavors from the side curry which helped moisten things up.

Lamb Vindaloo & Basmati Rice thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Main

Main

$21.50

$21.50

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Lamb Vindaloo & Basmati Rice

"Very spicy curry prepared with glazed onions, garlic, ginger and hot peppers".  When the waiter warned us this dish was very spicy, we were expecting an in-your-face type of heat with lots of other spices.  Alas, the sauce was only mildly spicy and did not pack that much flavor.  Barely garlicky and some of the meat pieces were actually tough.

tagged:  GREAT VALUE WELL-PRICED ALCOHOL

The Service

The staff was quite welcoming and attentive.  Whenever we needed something, someone was there to take care of it.  They were also very helpful as they gave us directions to the nearest ATM and were quite chatty with tourists sitting next to us.

tagged:  LOVE THE ATTENTION

The Verdict

When we think of Indian food, we envision pungent spices and fiery heat.  Food-wise, our experience tonight failed to take us on the adventure we were hoping for.  Most of the dishes were bland with poor presentation.  We felt as if the food was "Westernized" to appeal to a wider clientele.  However, Gandhi's charming setting and unblemished service makes it a worthwhile destination for Old Montreal residents or passers-by (it is the only Indian eatery in the area after all).

tagged:  PLAN B.

Price per person:  $25.88

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514eats

Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink.  We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.

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