Royal India, nestled off of Capital Blvd between my old favorite restaurant (Casalinga) and one of my favorite stores (Ed McKay’s), has a lot of nerve. Since moving to the triangle four years ago, I have been able to try a new Indian restaurant every three months or so, always looking for a decent Indian buffet. Why a buffet? Because I cannot talk friends into eating Indian for dinner with me, but I can occasionally woo someone to go to a buffet, promising that variety is key to Indian cuisine. It has been a very bleak time. How desperate has my search gotten? I heard rumors that the management of Royal India is guilty of picking up pieces of chicken off of the carpeted floor of the buffet line and returning them back to the buffet dish, for the next unsuspecting patron to eat. I am in such dire straits for a decent Indian buffet that this bit of information was not enough to detour me from trying it. In fact, it did the opposite, Indian food that tastes like carpet would be a relief compared to some of the lifeless Indian buffets I have tried.
In my experiments to find an Indian buffet, I have tasted such mediocrity that I have wanted to give up on the cuisine entirely, but along the way, I have been fortunate enough to try some very tasty Indian dinners! (Reviews will be coming soon.) Royal India, however, has seasoned my jolly soul with rage and anger. Their food is NOTHING. I am eager to forget the food that I cannot remember. At the buffet, you could go through the line blindfolded, topping deserts with butter chicken and goat with buffet carpet, as long as a glass of water is in front of you, you have a flavor profile going. This food is dull, dull, DULL! I can’t even say that it is uninspired, because it is clear that the kitchen is not even trying. More heart and culinary skill goes into cutting the cantaloupe and picking the grapes off their vines for the dessert than any of the dishes on their buffet.
Bad food and poor service is not enough to upset me. I have been upset before. So what upsets with Royal India? The price. They want me to pay $13 for these dishes? Wars have been started for less. They try to justify this price because there is a goat dish on the buffet, but if I were to say the goat dish tasted like it came from a can, I would be doing canned food a disservice.
Readers, friends, eaters, don’t only avoid Royal India, let’s try to dethrone them! Is it too much to ask that a little care and attention to ingredients and flavor go into a buffet? Yes, buffets have a bad reputation, but it is restaurants like this that justify such stereotypes. Worse than that, restaurants like this are setting Indian food and culture back.
Buffet Taste/Variety = low
Price = high
Service = low
Atmosphere = medium
Total Value = LOW!