Coffs Harbour has a large population of residents with a Sikh Indian heritage, and as such we have quite a few delicious Indian Restaurants to choose from. Over the years Mr GG and I have developed a strong preference for a Oberois Indian Restaurant. Oberois is a family own business and has been operating for 35 years, initially in Woolgoolga and now on the Jetty strip in Coffs Harbour.
I hate to admit this, but we always have the same two dishes. I get a Lamb Korma and I request for it to be made hot, and hubby orders a Butter Chicken. The rice is complimentary, and we usually add four naan breads and a serve of vegetarian samosa to the order. The meal comes to $51.00, and we are in food heaven.
I would love to vary the dishes but the Lamb Korma is so good I can’t give up this dish. I know… it is a sad state of affairs, and yes, I am embarrassed. Especially given Oberois has a great menu and the specials change regularly.
Some time ago I suggested to friends that we should go out for Indian. If I am honest I was hoping to try a few more dishes. That is when we struck a problem. Our friend’s favourite Indian Restaurant is the Tandoori Oven, about three restaurants along from Oberois. Like us the owners were long time family friends, and like us, they had their favourite dishes and didn’t vary the order.
Needless to say, as yet we haven’t sat down to an Indian meal with our friends. Tonight everything changes. We are each ordering our favourite dishes from each restaurant and we will be comparing. Secretly I am hoping to convert our friends to Oberois, so we can share a meal at the restaurant in the future. Although I suspected the other couple may have the same idea.
We will be comparing flavour, cost, and meal size and I am hoping by the end we have a definitive answer. Which restaurant is the best Indian in Coffs Harbour.
The competitive nature of both couples was immediately apparent. I heard Scott taunting Mr GG “our order will be ready faster than yours!” Then to iWife, “you speak to her and we might get a bigger serve”. Ahh tactics, something tells me it is going to be a tough contest.
As it turned out both meals were going to be ready at 7.30pm. iWife and I went to collect our orders. The first stop was Oberois, it was busy as usual but the order was ready and waiting as promised. The aroma was killing me, I wondered if anyone would notice a missing samosa?
Next we went to the Tandoori Oven. I have to admit this restaurant has the edge in décor. A recent renovation has it looking modern and inviting. Our meal is ready and waiting so we pay for it and rush home for the sampling. Whilst in the car we compare prices and find the Tandoori Oven was $20 more expensive at $71.00. Further investigation reveals this is due to an additional entree of Tandoori Lamb Cutlets, $14.90 (3 cutlets), so the actual discrepancy in price was only $5.00.
As we unload our purchases it was clear that the Oberois serving sizes were larger. A quick check on the scales showed each of the curry dishes to be 150gm heavier than the Tandoori oven. The nan bread and the samosa were the same weight.
With the technical issues out of the way we were all hungry and ready to dive into dinner. We served ourselves a divided plate of food from the two restaurants and began our tasting.
If I thought the judging was going to be easy I was very much mistaken. iFamily agreed that the Butter Chicken from Oberois was sweeter, but they were a little put off by the smaller pieces of chicken in a large amount of sauce. Hubby loves the sauce, so he is happiest when the chicken is smaller sized and swimming in sauce, allowing him to scoop it up with his naan bread. Both dishes have probably a similar amount of meat and at the end of tasting the dish we are no closer to swaying the vote. The best we could come up on is agreeing that both families would be happy to eat Butter Chicken from either restaurant.
Next was my beloved dish, lamb korma. The two restaurants each put up two completely different dishes by the same name. They were so obviously different that comparison wasn’t even possible. My Korma is made on a cream and lemon sauce with ground cashew and has loads of small pieces of meat in a “soupy sauce” which I requested to be hot. Just the way I like it. iFamilies Korma had large pieces of meat in a far thicker yoghurt based curry with fruit, nuts cardamom pods etc. It was a mild curry. The flavours and textures were completely different. I enjoyed both dishes and I would happily order this curry, but it was not the same curry I associate with lamb korma.
There was a clear winner in the naan bread department, and it wasn’t ours! The Tandoori Oven’s naan were so much nicer, they were light and puffy, garlicy and delicious. Perhaps someone had a bad day at Oberois because ours were not as nice.
So what is the outcome? Ours meal was slightly cheaper and a bigger serving, but the naan bread is amazing from the Tandoori Oven’s. I love the flavour of our curries and the vege samosa. BUT, I loved the Tandoori Ovens Tandoori Lamb Cutlet it was amazing. I am told the meat samosa from the Tandoori Oven was “pretty amazing” but I was not quick enough in to verify that one myself. The two Butter Chicken dishes were really similar, but the Korma’s were worlds apart. So what is the verdict??
The only conclusion we could come to, is that we were trying to split hairs. It was a delicious meal from both restaurants. We were full and content, we all agreed we would happily eat at either restaurant. There are dishes I am looking forward to trying from the Tandoori Oven and I am going to also extend myself a little at Oberois and try more of their dishes too. I guess I learned I need to broaden my horizons a little. iFamily have come to a similar conclusion.