Overall Rating – 3/5
6560 Main St, Vancouver, BC
Open 7 days a week 11am – 10pm
As mentioned last week in our Best Quality Sweets review, there were back to back Indian restaurants. This is the second one, All India Sweets Restaurant. We’re going to try our best not to compare the two and to give them their own unbiased review but some comparison will be included as there were some distinct contrasts between the two restaurants.
On this particular visit to Main Street we had a special guest with us, Nick Valka, from the Langara Voice newspaper who wanted to do an interview with us about the Main Street Eats project for their paper. He was super friendly and a great person to talk to. You can read his article here if you’re interested.
All Indian Sweets & Restaurant used to be on the other side of Main Street but has since moved into the vacant spot on the east side of Main. They are a smaller establishment with only about 10 booths and a buffet at the end of the restaurant. There is a bar at the far side as well.
We were quickly greeted at the door and taken to our seat when we walked in. The waitress brought us water and asked if we wanted menus but were told her we would like the buffet. She offered us the buffet plates and we helped ourselves.
They put on a vegetarian Indian buffet every day from 12pm – 9pm for $11.95 (you can add butter chicken or other meat for $4.95). It was lunchtime when we went and we figured a buffet would be a great way to sample many dishes for one price. There were dishes in the buffet that we had never heard of before so this was definitely the best choice for us to be adventurous.
When we got to the buffet one thing was definitely unusual, metal plates. We forgot to get a picture of them but think prison plates; metal plates sectioned off to keep your food from touching. It was that or styrofoam. We definitely have never eaten off a metal plate in a restaurant before.
The buffet starts with dessert, rice pudding and some other Indian dessert that wasn’t labelled and we never got the name of. Then you can have a salad, we passed as we were there for the Indian food. The next section of the buffet has gulab jamun first, another sweet. We did try some but not until the end. The last 6 trays of the buffet were what we were there to eat: pakoras (deep fried veggie fritters), rajmah (red kidney beans in an Indian-spiced gravy), Punjabi kadi (chickpea gravy with pakoras), alo gobhi (curried cauliflower), dal turka (split lentil soup), malai kofta (potato and panner balls in an onion-tomato gravy), and matar paneer (peas and paneer in a tomato sauce). To be honest, everything had clearly been sitting for a while and the sauces/gravies of the dishes starting to separate and nothing looked incredibly appetizing.
The only things I actually knew were the pakoras, only from Best Quality Sweets, and alo gobhi. Sam knew pakoras. The rest were new to our tastebuds.
For the most part, everything was just okay. It’s hard to even describe each dish because they taste exactly as you would expect. Rajmah tasted like kidney beans, the sauce didn’t seem to affect much taste. The Punjabi kadi tasted like a thick gravy, not much taste to it. alo gobhi were above average but could have used salt. Matar paneer tasted like a tomato soup as did the malai kofta.
Overall, we didn’t love anything but nothing was really terrible, either. Overall, this place was the definition of ‘okay’. The one thing we did agree on was that the pakoras were noticeably better than Best Quality Sweets and it was because they were salted. Best Quality Sweets had fried their pakoras and served them, All India had fried them then tossed them in some salt which was delicious when it hit your tastebuds.
For dessert, we opted for a styrofoam plate instead of metal. The rice pudding was again okay. Not as sweet as we expected so it tasted like rice in a slightly sweetened milk. The gulab jamun on the other hand were way too sweet for us. They were served at the buffet sitting in the honey. At Best Quality Sweets they were lightly drizzled with honey when served. At All India they sat in the honey and were able to absorb all the honey to make them incredibly sweet, too sweet for us.
This was the first place we probably wouldn’t go back to. It was underwhelming.
Next up, we will be heading to Roots Cafe, a modern, hip cafe.
Food – 2.5/5 – nothing was great, nothing was awful though
Service 4.5/5 – brought water right away and offered a high chair
Kid Friendliness – 4.5/5 – no kids’ menu but very accommodating of kids and had a high chair
Decor – 3/5 – your standard restaurant decor, no Indian flair except the music they played
Value – 4.5/5 – if you want the buffet you can get a lot of food for only $11.95 which is quite good
Never stop adventuring!