Friday, January 4, 2013

NaanOlicious: The Naan Bar- Edmonton, AB

Butter chicken Fries
After a hard day of work, we decided to check out Whyte Ave's newest Indian restaurant, NaanOlicious- The Naan Bar. Naan is a flatbread (tasting similar to a pita) baked in a tandoor oven able to reach temperatures of 500 degrees. NaanOlicious offers customers a variety of fusion Indian cuisine with different influences from around the world where naan is used as a base. From "panaanis" (their take on the traditional panini), pizzas, and pastas to salads, meatloaf and samosas, NaanOlicious puts a new and different spin on familiar dishes. Upon entering this 40-50 seat restaurant, I noticed it had a very modern feel but still was true to the Indian culture/vibe.  After perusing the menu, we decided to try the garlic naan ($3.00 for two slices), the butter chicken fries ($10.00), the Tikka Kababs from the East with choice of mild or spicy ($15.00), and one of the specials of the day, the mango chili wings ($11.00).

Tikka beef kababs with saffron rice
Although you might not be able to tell the serving size from the pictures, as each dish came out, we noticed that it was a relatively high price to pay for the amount of food being offered. The butter chicken fries were definitely the best dish of the night! The butter chicken sauce was creamy, luxurious and had the right amount of spice. The red onions placed on top also added a nice sweet crunch, but the french fries didn't seem to add anything to the dish. After a few bites, the fries became soggy very quickly and were a poor substitute for rice. The Tikka Kababs (with your choice of lamb, beef or chicken), recommended by our waiter, came out on a sizzling skillet that was filled with a medley of fresh onions, green/yellow/red peppers, and mushrooms. There was some inconsistency, with some chunks of meat deliciously tender while others were slightly dry. The dish itself was more subtly seasoned and less strongly flavored compared to the other dishes ordered. It was agreed that this was the least enjoyable dish of the night. Also, the "saffron rice"accompanying the dish tasted dry and I was not sure if I could taste any hint of saffron.

Tikka beef kababs
When eating Indian food, naan is easily my favorite dish ordered, partially because of the nice warm and crispy texture. It has so many applications! It can be used as an utensil for picking up sauces, a base for meat dishes, or even desserts when honey or coconut shavings are sprinkled on. So when a restaurant has "naan" in its name, I expect that their flat breads to be one of the best in the city. Today, I was disappointed with the garlic naan as it was a little too buttery for my liking and I was not able to taste the garlic flavor as much as I had hoped to. The mango chili wings were quite spicy, which was good because when going an Indian restaurant, you expect to get some heat! The mango flavors were very distinct and there were a decent amount of wings (~1 lb) in this dish.

Mango chili wings

Overall, the food at NaanOlicious was new and interesting, adding a unique cultural blend not normally found when eating Indian food. Unlike many restaurants where the temperature of the food is commonly an issue, it was very nice to see that everything ordered came out steaming hot (temperature wise). However, dishes seemed to be brought out to the tables in a disorganized manner, as parts of dishes were staggered and came out one after the other (as opposed to at the same time). This was mentioned by my companion as we were waiting for certain items to pair with certain dishes. In my opinion, the prices at NaanOlicious are too high for what they are serving their customers (average price for a dish ~$10-25). They seem to charge for their unique combinations. Our server was friendly and the manager/owner came and asked us how our meal was. Yet, we were not brought water upon being seated and the restaurant seemed to be understaffed as the servers were responsible for more than they could handle. Although the food was interesting, the price will keep me from coming back to NaanOlicious. It was a nice experience but there are just too many other authentic Indian restaurants with lower prices in Edmonton.

Garlic Naan
Helpful tip:

Groupon has an offer for NaanOlicious going on right now, which they offer $40.00 worth of food for only $20.00. If you are interested in trying NaanOlicious but do not want to pay a steep price, this is a good option for you. So hurry:

Keema Naan: naan stuffed with ground beef 
Fish bites: deep fried fish pieces

Lettuce Wraps: chicken marinated in spices with crispy noodles


2.5/5 Erics

NaanOLicious: The Naan Bar on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I read your post and found the NaanOlicious was new and interesting, adding a unique cultural blend not normally found when eating Indian food.Thanks for sharing this informative information.

    Indian Cuisine Edmonton