Monday, 26 May 2014

Empress Hotel Bengal Room - Curry buffet & all the trimmings

The Empress Hotel is really a stunning setting for meals - whether you're in the tapestry laden tea lobby for afternoon tea, the dark wood-paneled formal Empress room for dinner or in the British Indian decorated Bengal Room for a fancy cocktail and a light (or more substantial) bite to eat.

Bengal Lounge entrance

The interior is has a library or reading room feel to it, with a touch of safari....

I'm sure it's the wall hanging that evokes the latter.

Fireplace at end of room.

Recently, four of us dropped into the Bengal room to fill our tummies with pakoras, dahl, tandoori chicken and a host of other Indian treats. It's buffet time! The curry buffet runs every day in the lounge for lunch and dinner. The food is elegantly displayed in large copper pots and comes with all of the curry trimmings.

We filled our Fairmont china with pakoras, lamb curry, tandoori chicken, dahl, vegetable curry, naan and papadums. Everything is quite tasty and stays very hot at the buffet. For me, it's one of the best ways to have Indian food.  With a buffet, you get the variety of serving dishes family-style....but I can take a heap of something I really love without fear of stealing someone's fair share.

Hot buffet side
Pakoras, Chicken Tandoori, and more
They also have some lovely salads and accompaniments to go with the curries - pickled vegetables (both hot & vinegar), chutney, yogurt sauces, coconut, nuts, dried fruits and more.

Salad and condiment side
And there are a few desserts to fill up the last bit of space in your tummy. Oh this visit - there were Cardamon Apple Tarts, Creme Brulee and, my favourite, rice pudding (what can I say? I love the classics).

Cardamon Apple Pie
Creme Brulee
Most of all, I feel luxurious in the setting of the Bengal Lounge. It's mostly that you have the opportunity to sit in butter-soft, leather chairs that envelope you. Ahhhh.

Butter. Soft. Seats.
I've never been disappointed coming to the Bengal Lounge. It's not cheap, but it is the Empress (although $30'ish for the buffet isn't bad, I think). I come half for the setting (motorized rattan ceiling fans to move the air) and half for the food (as much lamb curry as I want and a rice pudding guarantee). And if curry isn't your favourite - they have an a la carte menu as well. I saw some good looking pulled-pork sandwiches and steak-frites passing our table. A tip I've said before: Friends of the Empress. Check it out.

Although you don't need to dress like Colonel Mustard, you'll still feel like you're sitting in his study.

Bengal Lounge
Fairmont Empress Hotel
Curry buffet
  Lunch daily, 11:30am-2pm
  Dinner daily, 6-9pm
A la carte menu
  Sun-Thur 11:30am-10:30pm
  Fri/Sat 11:30am-11:00pm

250-389-2727 (lunch reservations only, dinner is walk-in only)
Facebook: The Bengal Lounge
Twitter: @TheBengalLounge

The Bengal Lounge on Urbanspoon

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