I attempted to do Mehfil Indian Restaurant nearly a year ago but apparently chose the one night of the week that they serve buffet only. It was good eating but not quite what I was looking for. Photos from the buffet visit will be towards the end. So this week I finally made it back to do it properly, ordering from the regular menu with a server and all. I met my mother a little after 5PM on Thursday. One other person was supposed to join us but they couldn’t make it at the last moment, so that just meant more tasty food for us then!
There were just a couple tables seated when we went inside, and the two employees standing near the register by the door told us to sit anywhere we like. The dining room is a large rectangular room with the buffet counters at the far back. There isn’t much in there besides the buffet, tables and a couple little TVs on either end. It’s always been somewhat dimly lit whenever I come, and the big red curtains that cover the front windows play a part in that. Our server cleared the two extra place settings and came back with a pitcher of water to fill our glasses. I ordered a mango lassi (one of my new favorites whenever I see it’s available) while we looked over the menu. This was brought out pretty quickly. The only ones I’ve had previously were very orange in color. This was Yellow, but it tasted just a good as the others.
Our server was tuned in perfectly and came to take our order soon after we had figured out what we were getting (I wish more servers payed such good attention and kept watch on your table from afar). We ordered a couple entrees, an appetizer and some naan. Shortly after ordering we received the same thin, almost tortilla chip-like starter that I got at Tandoori House. I don’t recall if that one had a distinct flavor of it’s own, but this one tasted like cumin. A trio of chutneys was served with it, spicy onion (I think), Tamarin and mint. I really liked the Tamarin, it was very sweet, with a touch of heat at the end. As we finished these, our vegetable pakoras appetizer arrived (fresh cut vegetables deep fried in spicy chick pea batter). The batter was really fantastic, and the crispy texture was just about my favorite part. I thought this went well in the Tamarin chutney as well. The veggies weren’t easily visible. They seemed to be mashed or chopped up very finely and almost mixed into the batter itself, giving each piece a very consistent flavor, texture and appearance throughout. The plate was big, much more than either of us needed, and could easily be split between four people comfortably.
I would have expected the naan to be next, but it came out a bit late and was a few minutes behind the entrees. First up we had Chicken Tikka Masala (boneless white meat, tandoori cooked in a delightful, bright, tangy cream sauce). A little metal holder with a candle was set up and a metal dish with the chicken in it’s sauce was placed atop of that. This kept it nice and hot for the whole meal. The chicken was cut into bite sized cubes and was extremely tender. The sauce was incredibly rich and delicious. These are the type of dishes I really love. Served over rice, the excess sauce is soaked up and not one bit of it goes to waste, or you can scoop it up with naan.
Next, I picked the Tandoori Mixed Grill (a mix of chicken and lamb cooked in the tandoor). This came out on a hot iron dish, steaming and sizzling loudly. Two bright red pieces of chicken, a couple smaller pieces of what must have been the lamb ground into kabob-shapes, two or three shrimp (also bright red) and a handful of yellow colored cubes of chicken topped a heap of grilled onions and carrots. The cubes of chicken were just as tender and almost as delicious as the tikka masala. I’m not sure what spices were in it. The tandoori chicken was a bit dry on the outside but decent just under the surface once I bit into it. I wasn’t thrilled with the lamb, it was also on the dry side and was more spicy than flavorful (don’t get me wrong, I like some scorching heat, but not at the expense of taste). I might order the chicken tandoori again, but probably not this mixed grill.
When our chicken naan (homemade bread stuffed with white meat chicken and herbs) arrived it was clearly right out of the tandoor, it was very hot and absolutely some of the best I’ve ever had. Inside there were tiny little bits of chicken. I kind of think it was the freshness of the naan rather than the chicken that had me loving it so much, I mean who doesn’t love fresh baked bread regardless what kind it is? I didn’t really taste much chicken to be honest.
So overall, pretty great food (so/so on the tandoori mixed grill though) and top notch service. I’ve done the buffet a couple times (served normally at lunch, and apparently once a week for dinner), and it’s great to get to try lots of different things. I recommend checking it out. Below are photos of most of the items they had out that time last November. They have totally revamped the serving equipment since the last time I was here, so these look a bit different than how it is now.
Scanned ToGo Menu (a little more detailed than the one on their website): https://dl.dropbox.com/u/12286/EatingThroughRoseville/Mehfil%20Menu.pdf