Safa Tikka and Kabab House in Scarborough
Lunch buffet at Safa Tikka. For those of us who have gotten married in a South Asian family, the abundance of dinner and lunch invites that are received after your big day is just plain ridiculous. I’ve been married for almost two years now and to be honest, I can just do away with the meeting, greeting and eating at other people’s homes. Majority of the time, it’s always the same food, the same people and the same chit-chat.
So imagine my amazement when my husband and I were told we were invited for a lunch buffet at Safa Tikka and Kabab House, located on Markham Road near McNicoll Avenue in Scarborough.
I’ve been to Saffa Tikka numerous times before, but never for a buffet. We’ve always ordered Safa Tandoori Chops ($11.99), Chicken Jalfrezi ($7.49), Butter Chicken ($7.49), and Safa Chicken Biryani ($8.49). The quality has always been great, with the chicken being tender and juicy. An added bonus is that the chicken never has that rotten, poorly cooked smell. I don’t know how to explain it, but a couple of my cousins and I can automatically pick up the under-cooked smell in certain chicken meals that instantly begs us to run for the door.
The environment at Safa Tikka that particular weekend was different from before. First, I was under the impression that only a group of around 20 people were invited for lunch. Was I wrong! There must have been around 100 people! Due to that reason the restaurant Safa Tikka closed from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. for dining in, but were still accepting take out orders.
Second, a welcomed difference was that the always-playing TVs were turned off. The previous times that I’ve been to Safa Tikka, they have always played Bollywood music videos, especially (in the words of my mom) the old-is-gold kind. I’m glad I had the opportunity to enjoy my meal and interact with family without being interrupted with the attention-grabbing flashy musical numbers. So maybe that would be something to consider changing during regular hours as well (or at least tone it down a bit!)
The lunch buffet had numerous aromatic items, consisting of sheesh kababs, tandoori chicken, vegetable curry, gosht curry, rice pilau and channa masala. I opted out from getting the channa masala because I’m just simply not a big fan. The sheesh kababs were juicy and well-done, with the right amount of spices. The tandoori chicken was a top contender for being one of the best tandoori chicken I’ve had. The downside was that I could taste the all-too-familiar taste of tandoori powder masala when I was eating it. The vegetable curry and the gosht curry were good on their own front; however both were a bit too spicy for my liking due to my low tolerance in the spice department. My husband thought it was just fine, so it all depends on your own individual preference. The gosht in the curry was well proportioned and well done — I wasn’t playing tug-o-war with the piece of meat for it to get to bite-size pieces.
We were also provided with salad and naan. The salad was the regular, run-of-the-mill kind with the basic lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. The naan on the other hand was really good.
For dessert, we had the option to feast on kheer and gulab jamun. From everyone that I talked to, hands down, the gulab jamun was the best they ever had. They were nicely shaped, not soaking in syrup, and oh-so-good in our mouths just hitting the spot like ice cream on a hot summer day. The kheer was average in my opinion. It was too creamy and actually looked like pureed baby food due to the over blending and/or overcooking of the rice.
Upon further research with the waiter, I found out that this particular lunch buffet is not available during the weekends. It was a special offer due to the size of the reservation. Safa Tikka does have a lunch buffet during the weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($7.99). On a side note, they also have a breakfast buffet on weekends from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – I definitely wrote that on the must-do list in the near future.
Overall, the experience at Safa Tikka was once again what I had expected. Good food and good times. Now, I just wish people would stop inviting me to dinners/lunches. I’ve been married for almost two years — I’m kind of an old bride now 😉
Shabnam is a restaurant reviewer for Halal Foodie, follow her on twitter at @Shabz_1221
Safa Tikka and Kabab House
2818 Markham Road Toronto, ON M1V 4C3