The other day I happened to find myself near the Microsoft campus to see a client. We finished business around 11:30 am. When you are in Redmond (or the Eastside for that matter) Indian food is your best bet. So I drove up to Kanishka, an Indian restaurant I've been to before but had not gotten a chance to eat at in a few months. Having had no breakfast (not even coffee and a very early and light dinner the night before) I was really hungry.
Kanisha's parking lot was moslty empty. There were perhaps 2 other dinners there. Things looked untouched and piping hot. I must have gotten there just as they opened. Buffet had just been set up and some items were still in transit from kitchen to serving trays. After ordering my beverage of choice, a tall cold glass of Mango Lassi, I looked for a plate and went for the buffet in search of the usual suspects.
Everything was lovely. I had a small piece of warm Naan, a generous spoonful of their Mushroom and Potato Curry, Pickled Onions and Cucumbers, tender and flavorful Basmati Rice and a few of their Chutneys (Tamarind and Mint) and Raita. The surprise was the Mango Chicken. So tender, so flavorful, worth driving to Redmond for. Ahh! I was happy as a clam.
It's funny how in a few minutes after sitting down to eat the restaurant, all of a sudden, became packed so busy there was hardly a table available. As it always happens, my sweet tooth was getting the best of me. There is no Indian meal (or any meal for that matter) that can't benefit from a little sweet, a bit of pudding, a small dessert.
I walked back to the buffet and served myself a little bit of the Kheer (Indian Style Rice Pudding). Now, if you like Kheer as I do and you've had it enough times (and made it at home) to know the great and the good from the mediocre you'll know how disappointing it can be to get finish off a great Indian meal with sub-par Kheer.
Well, this was just too bad for words. A small teaspoon was all it took. While it looked like Kheer it was nothing like it. The flavor was what industrial, leftover mopping water in a pail must taste like. Think soapy but not the kind of soapy that ocurrs asa result of an overly generous dash of Rose Water. This was, if anything else musty, old, dead roses. Something awful, almost putrid. Not remotely related to the divine and sweet goodness that is Kheer.
I thank my lucky stars that there was a bit of Naan and sauce left on my plate. I was able to, very discreetly (I was a in a corner booth of the restaurant) spit the Kheer into my napkin. To rid my palate of the Kheer, I soaked the piece of Naan in the Mango chicken sauce and chewed on it for enough time to sort of wash away most of the unpleasantness. This was followed by a quick trip to the ladies to rinse my mouth (thank heaven for those little disposable finger toothbrushes).
All in all, Kanishka has lovely food, great prices and a polite and efficient staff. The buffet is one of the freshest, most authentic and varied Indian spreads on the Eastside (and a hit with the Microsoft peeps). But for the love of cheese, stay away from the Kheer!!!
Kanishka Indian Restaurant
16101 Redmond Way