TANDOORI FLAVOUR (455A Spadina, at College, 416-599-0599) Complete meals for $10 per person, including all taxes, tip and a coke. Average main $6. Open Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 10 pm, Saturday noon to 10 pm. Unlicensed. Access: barrier free, no washrooms. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Let's call it the rule of proximitous post-secondary pandering, whereby a vast, underfunded, inexperienced student population facilitates the proliferation of pre-made sushi, pseudo-Irish pubs, lame-ass pizza joints and places like Tandoori Flavour, a bare-bones takeout next to the 7 Eleven on Spadina.
Only somebody who has just been weaned off cheese strings and Yops would consider this anything other than tolerable Indian food. Admittedly, it's cheap. It's so inexpensive, even the staff are surprised. After checking the bill twice, the guy behind the counter laughed and said, "Yes, that's the right amount. It's cheap!"
But of course you get what you pay for, and (unavoidable cliché #2) time is money - meaning none of this food tastes like much stove work has been invested in it.
There's little taste of spices sautéed to that supreme aromatic state and then cooked with the meat or vegetables so their flavours meld and combine. It all tastes very hasty, which is not surprising with a staff of two.
Since the beef kebab wrap ($4.50, including soft drink) doesn't undergo the melding process in the normal course of affairs, it doesn't suffer too much. The ground beef is nicely charred but let down by the rubbery naan. Chicken madras ($6) has all the charm of cafeteria food - bland bits of chicken in a tangy, fruity sauce with the consistency of ketchup.
The pakoras ($3) consist almost entirely of chickpea flour. Gobi keema ($6), a reasonably agreeable stew of ground beef and cauliflower, is still pretty earthbound.
The spinach and cheese dish, palak paneer ($4.50), suffers from an absence of cheese. And even at $3.50, the plate of unadorned fried basmati rice is no bargain.
So, all in all, pretty inconsequential. But so what?
They seem like nice guys, and it's not like they're getting rich at the expense of the students who sit on the worn stools eating off of shiny metal trays at the counter.