Tucked off Whyte Avenue at 10131 81 Avenue is Narayanni’s, serving gourmet South African Indian cuisine made by the Naidoo family.
The restaurant is located on a street with plenty of free angle parking. The building was built over 70 years ago as Adndt’s Machine Shop. From the outside, it has that classic Old Strathcona feel about it, but once you step inside you are greeted with a sparkling clean, tasteful and subtly designed space with nice sized tables, sturdy chairs and room to breathe.
In the centre of the room is a circular serving area where the buffet is displayed. Michael and I visited Narayanni’s on Wednesday night for the Wednesday Night Buffet at the unbeatable price of $15.00 per person.
As this was our first visit, we did a tour of the buffet before making selections. On this night, the buffet featured:
Cucumber Raita (yogurt dip)
A colourful mixed salad
Vegetable Curry Soup
Grilled Chicken Masala
Curried Potatoes with Peas and Green Beans
Chana (Chickpeas) with Mushrooms
Tofu CurryRice Pudding
Warm, delicious roti was also available and was brought to the table to us.
We started with the vegetable curry soup. The flavours in the soup brought my tastebuds to life. Michael and I both exclaimed if that is all we ate that night, we would have left happy campers. But we didn’t stop there, of course. We got up again and filled our fresh plates (emptied plates were swiftly taken away).
I sampled all the food on the buffet. The potatoes with peas and green beans, the chana with mushrooms, the chicken curry, the grilled chicken masala, and the roti, ohhhhh that roti, was so delicious. There was good strong level of spicy heat in the curries. A bit more and I’d be fanning my mouth, but it just took us to the edge, still allowing all those beautiful flavours through.
I did learn this evening that South African Indian cooking does not have the cream sauces I’ve become used to seeing in Edmonton. For someone like me with an intolerance to dairy, it was very special to be able to eat virtually anything on the menu without having to ask “does this have dairy?”. There was the raita (yogurt), but that was easily identifiable. The post-dinner chai tea and rice pudding were made with almond and coconut milk on request.
Narayanni’s food is all made fresh, no preservatives. They source local, organic, free range, and in season food. They have a large assortment of gluten and vegan menu items, and feature a Tuesday Vegan Night Buffet for $15.00 per person (cash only). There are a variety of different buffets for different nights of the week. There is also a lunch buffet for the seemingly impossible price of $12.00 per person. Please check their website for times, prices, and when cash is only accepted as this changes throughout the week.
If you are looking for an indulgent, flavourful, healthy, feel-good to toes your meal, I highly recommend trying Narayanni’s. You will be made to feel welcome and at home.