New Indian - Tiffin - Philadelphia
Location 710 W Girard Ave. We ordered take out tonight and feel that the quality of the food was as good as Karma at about half the price.
Veggie samosas were the plump doughy style pretty good at $1.95 for two. Onion Bhaji a little floury but still good. Excellent Chicken Tikka salad. Entrees - Chicken Tikka Masala was excellent for $9.95. Lamb Saag also good for the same price. Naan bread just a dollar. What was particularly interesting was that things such as raita come with the meal as standard and that veggie dishes eg Aloo Gobi and an unusually deliberately smoky eggplant bhaji (Baigan Bharta)are just 6.95, which allows plenty of variety at an affordable price, something other Indian restaurants should take note of. This place is a perfect replacement for the sadly missed Darbar Grill on Market Street. Currently just doing take out and delivery and I believe to be expanding into other neighborhoods. www.tiffin.com.
der- thanks for the heads up. I tried the weblink and got a response of the page being "under construction."
What part of the city is 710 W. Girard?
The food is priced attractively. It is appreciated for places to charge a more reasonable amount for food, such as naan. $1 for takeout for it, to me, is fair. Most restaurants charge $2 and up for it, which I think is unjustifiable. Since the place is takeout, are the dishes packed separately, such as if you get saag paneer, will the saag be placed in a separate container from the rice? This is the way Minar Palace did it. Their expansion to other neighborhoods will be a good thing.
You mentioned the now closed Darbar Grill, formerly on Market Street. I had heard mixed reports about the place.
Location is on the edge of Northern Liberties, a couple of blocks away from Las cazuelas i guess. Food is packaged seperately. My traditional favorite take out indian was Karma, but recently i felt they were cutting corners, eg the chicken in Tikka Masala was little bitty pieces, whereas here you get the chunks with the skewer holes through. My other point on the vegetable dishes, is that if you want a vegetable as a side (and here portion size is the same) at restaurants such as Karma, you are paying around $12 - $13, whereas here you are paying around half. I am not deliberately hitting on Karma, I still believe their chicken saag to be excellent and the only place where i would buy the okra (not at all slimy, I feel this place worth the support from my initial take-out meal. Website was up and running yesterday at www.tiffin.com, but their second address www.tiffinstore.com was not working.
I ordered from Tiffin this weekend and it was really good, especially for the price. DiningIn is so expensive, so slow, and 80% of the time they screw something up. The Lamb Saag was really good and so was the Aloo Gobi. It was super fast and they guy on the phone was really nice. They are only open for delivery right now, but the restaurant should be functioning fairly soon. I thought it was better than Karma.
I ordered food from Tiffin on Sunday evening. Let's just say, it was the best Indian I have had in a long time. The food was delicious and the prices made it yummier. To a question raised in an earlier post, the food not only came packaged separately but was also was individually labeled. Since we had ordered for 7 people that really helped by taking the guesswork out. Food comes with free dal, raita and pickles; items you would have to pay extra for at most other places. Looking forward to eating there when they open the dining room.
Ordered from Tiffin last night. Quite pleased. The food has a homemade feeling to it, like there's less oil used maybe or the ingredients are very fresh or they didn't burn the onions. Absolutely charming. It's not heartrendingly delicious, it's just real good and a fantastic value. I'll be ordering a package of 23 meals and making one night a week Tiffin night. Ordered the Saag Paneer / Zucchini Masala, and the Gobhi Mussalam / Kadai Vegetables. Saag Paneer was perfect... my wife ate most of it so I can't describe it tho. Zucchini pieces were soft not mushy, with a slight overuse of cumin seed. But that means they used cumin seed, which is more than I can say for most places! Altho maybe that was the kadai veggies that were overcumin-ed, can't remember. Anyway that was kind of a homey touch that I really appreciated, like it's the kind of thing I'd mess up. The cauliflower was melting. Loved the dal (I think it was urad dal) it was kind of stewy - I almost prefered it to their entrees. Heat level btwn mild and medium. The pickle was edible... and I usually find pickles inedible. Usually I reserve pickles for when my wife decides to boil some frozen chicken breasts.
I wonder if they change their menu week to week.
Anyway, Minar What?
I stopped in at Tiffin tonight to pick up a couple of items for a potluck tonight, and several items to both eat in the next couple of days and put in the freezer. I was just getting in a nice habbit of buying ten or so items at a time at Minar to eat for a few days and freeze, and I've just gotten to the bottom of my Minar pile.
Tiffin is efficient looking, clean, the folks are pleasant, the variety and quality of the dishes is great, and the prices are reasonable - if not at the $5.50 Minar level. More like 6.95 to 9.95, with a couple of dishes topping out at 10-12.95, and well worth it.
I ordered Lamb Seekh Kabab - spicey Minced lamb, similar to Kabaobeesh - listed as an appetizer, but quite generous, Malai Tikka - a Tandoor dish containing 5 large chunks of chicken, Saag Paneer, Aloo Gobhi - with cauliflower and potato, Baingna Bharta - does this dish usually have peas?, and Dhaba Chicken, chunks of chicken in a generous red sauce. Seven dishes with tax came to $56. including separate containers of rice, delicious chutneys, pickles, raita, and dal. Much tastier than what I ate earlier this week at one of the highest rated places in D.C.
I do have one nit to pick, however - with the freebees, or extras, as they have been called - actually neither since they are listed on the menu, and I paid the price.
With the dishes I ordered, I should have received a total of 4 dal, 6 raita, 1 mint chutney, 3 mix pickle, and 1 mango chutney, plus 5 servings of rice. I asked, and was told that these items were packaged separately, since a number of the items would be frozen for individual meals.
I received two quart containers of rice, one generous container of dal, only two of the six raita, only 1 mix pickle, 1 container of orangy looking stuff with a chunk of what may be mango? 2 containers of the common green paste, and two containers of brown stuff that looks to be the consistency of duck sauce. As you can tell, I'm not really up on my Indian condiments.
I do feel as though they skimped, especially giving me only 2 raita, when 6 dishes should have come with. Have others had a similar experience? To anyone going in the future, I suggest you double check the number of items if it is important to you.
I feel funny even mentioning this, as they are generous in providing the condiments, and the meals are generally generous and quite reasonable. But I do like the raita, and feel that we should get what is promised on the menu.
Nonetheless, I believe this place is a tremendous addition to our culinary choices, and I will certainly return, probably often.
photorc - no need to feel funny bring up the issue you did - you placed a very large order and you want to make sure that what you ordered was delivered to you as such.
Next time, I'd ask them if your understanding of what you should get from your order is correct, and then detail what happened to you last time. Perhaps there was some mistake on their part. I despise placing large orders like you did, because the more complicated and numerous the items, particularly with all the side dishes and appetizers, the more likely is the chance that someone along the line will screw up. It's just human nature, so that's why someone along the line has to double check that the order is correct BEFORE you leave the place, and that someone might have to be you.
The colored food you referred to sounded like mint chutney (the green item), mango chutney (the orange item), and tamarind sauce (the brown sauce which you referred to as resembling the consistency of duck sauce).
Regarding the bainghan bharta, sometimes there are green peas mixed in the eggplant mush, sometimes not. My preference is for there to be some green peas. I find a few of them add a nice comliment to the taste of the dish.
I read many months ago that Minar, formerly on Sansom St., was looking for a new location. Are they still looking, have they given up, or are they open somewhere? They are missed.
I have yet to find saag paneer close to what they did to it. I doubt I will get to Tiffin for quite awhile. It's not in my neighborhood and if I go into town, there are a few other places I need to pay my respects to.
I have heard decent things about Lavash on South St. Would anyone recommend this for their lunch buffet? What other Indian restaurant serves dishes with a similar spice mixture? (After not having gone to New Delhi in W. Philly for years, I was surprised at my reaction to its spice flavor in its dishes as compared to what I had gotten used to at places out here in the western suburbs - I didn't care for it. I know of some people who love ND. Guess its what you are used to and what agrees with your palate.
With trepidation, I offer the following idea ... It would be fascinating for some chemist to analyze the spice mixture used at each place and to represent the analysis numerically. A number on one extreme of the spectrum could represent heat or more use of certain spices, vs. a number on the other end of the spectrum. Or perhaps there could be some graphical pie chart, no pun intended, indicating the spice breakdown. Perhaps an enterprising individual could put together such a book of all the Indian restaurants in the area, include a "sniff and smell" slip for each restaurant, and provide the analysis, textually and graphically. You could just sift through the "guide to Indian restaurants" in the area and know ahead of time, which place would agree with your palate!
FelafelBoy, thanks for the response. I was hoping that someone would clear up which condiment is which.
They are quite organized, and one man was checking the list to make sure everything was supplied. In his mind, I guess, two raitas covered it, even though I ordered six entrees that were each listed on the menu as being served with raita. I justed checked, and the portions in each container are tiny. And this is a takeout menu. Takeout is what they do. So it's not like they can say, well, when you eat it here, each person gets raita. The takeout menu says raita comes with each dish.
As for Minar, they did tell me they would be reopening as soon as they found an alternate location. Perhaps finding one was not as easy as they had anticipated.
Funny you should mention New Delhi. All of my friends prefer New Delhi. And I've always found the taste of the spices there to be unappealing to my pallette. Just never hit's me the right way. I recently mentioned this on the list, and asked if anyone could be specific about their flavors, either in terms of what specific spices they use, or if this a recognizable style of Indian cooking, or from a specific region. I didn't get any response. Any takers?
It would be nice, as you suggested, to have a clear indication of exactly what spices create which flavors in the specific dishes at the various restaurants. And I can't wait to check out the rt 30 recommendations.
I found Lavash to be of high quality, but nothing had much bite to it from what I remember. The saag at Tiffin has more bite to it than Minar, different, but also good. There are several other dishes from Minar, including the bartha, the kormas, the chicken jalfraze, and the keema biryani, that I miss.
Even if Tiffen is out of your way, if your lifestyle is anything like mine, you would do well to pick up a number of dishes to stick in the freezer when you are in town.
fabulous!!! great indian food one block from home! the downside of this is that i've been smelling this place from my back patio ALL WEEK. tonight was the first night i dropped in. they ARE open for sit-down service now, albeit there are only about seven four-top tables. it's a small place which they've painted in fresh, bright shades of orange. the owners are super-nice. one of the guys is a british gentleman. my bosses (who spent a week each month in london) always come back raving about the indian food across the pond. i wonder if this guy's had previous experience there. oh, and they're a BYO, as i found out too late (i always find out too late!). there is a wine store at 2nd and girard just up the street from this place.
i had samosas, the cottage cheese in the orange-creamy sauce (the name escapes me) and some garlic naan. the cheese dish was creamier than most i am used to, but very good. the dal that comes FREE on the side was lovely! the samosas were among the best i've EVER had - they come with a mint and tamarind chutney. next time i'll ask if they have an onion chutney (my favorite). the garlic naan was excellent but completely different from what i am used to. generally garlic naans i've ordered elsewhere come painted with a coat of oil & parsley, but this one had none. as another poster above mentioned, it was "floury." not a complaint though, just an observation. cheerful dinner and a fun place. and considering it takes me thirty seconds to walk here from my front door (i am thrilled!!) i am sure i'll be back often. the british guy smiled and said he hoped i'd become a regular. i love great service!
oh, and this website seems to be working now:
Two more thumbs up for Tiffin. The Bride and I enjoyed the saag with mushroom and the eggplant with poppy (Bhagare Baingan). We had selected 6pm - 7pm delivery; the doorbell rang exactly at 6pm and the most well-dressed executive delivery person handed us our food. Everything was good; the saag was the best, with the eggplant perhaps lacking some of the fire-grilled flavor that we usually expect. Dal was good, as was the naan and very thick kheer. We will definitely be ordering again, and we have two more entrees and a dal in the freezer for the week again.
Definitely a great deal; it was $21 delivered for 4 entrees, two naan, kheer, and included 2 portions each of rice, dal, raita, and pickles.
I concur; Tiffin is great. Last night, I ordered the Vegetable Pakora, Saag Paneer, Chicken Vindaloo, and Peshawari Naan for pickup (about $22). I told them I would be there at 6pm. I arrived at 5:55 and they were packing my food. I think they are still training their staff -- one guy switched something in my bag with another order they were filling. Everything was in order when I got home, including the sides/freebies/rice/dal.
I found everything nicely spiced, with a depth of flavor not seen in the West Philly establishments. You could actually taste the chickpeas in the Pakora batter. The Saag Paneer was slightly sweet and seemed "fluffy and creamy", not limp and tasteless. The cheese was similar to firm tofu. The Chicken Vindaloo packed some serious heat and spice. It may be too hot for some as the heat lingers and builds, but I guess you could call it "medium". I was given 2 small raitas which helped :) The Vindaloo had nice large chunks of potato and white meat chicken with no fat (it was breast meat, maybe just a tad dry). The Peshawari Naan is advertised to have fruit and nuts within it. Mine was sweet and had something along the lines of almonds or cashews in a sweet paste. I've typically seen it with raisins, but they were not there.
Tiffin is on a non-descript block, and has seating, although no one was there last night at 6pm. It definitely has a 'hound vibe to it. When I got out of the car, the aromas just about knocked me over (in a good way).
I should add that it was equally tasty reheated this evening :)
I ordered successfully online from tiffin.com. Yes, you have to create a username/password profile. Then you can place your order by 2pm (for dinner delivery) from the shopping cart where it shows today's 3 tiffin offerings. Payment was via credit card at PayPal. It was a little annoying as I had to enter my home address at least 3-4 times (once when signing up, once when putting in my order, and once for credit card billing details).
But I got the order confirmation via email and as stated above, my 6pm-7pm order was delivered at exactly 6pm.
Tiffin is now advertising on Indian television programming broadcast on the alternative PBS station in Philadelphia. (I saw the ad on the program "Namaste." Various Indian restaurants in the NY-NJ-PA and surrounding areas advertise on this program. I think people would get more information about these restaurants if they visited boards like this one, since the ads shown are of such a short duration.) The ad didn't specify their delivery area, but the information is stated on its website.
Based on the comments here I ordered Tiffin through Dining In instead of my usual Lovash. (I'm not in Tiffin's delivery area). I'm sad to say I was a little disappointed--I got the chicken curry and potatoes and cauliflower. They both came in the same sauce, and the chicken chunks were quite dry. Plus there was a centimeter of oil on top of each dish. On the positive side, my bread was good and I liked the white rice. Maybe it's what I ordered--I'll give them one more chance before completely writing them off.
I've never had their buffet, only a la carte. Their food is primarily North Indian, with a couple of South Indian dishes (Avial, Chettinad curry). I find their food to be ungreasy and pretty tasty. I haven't eaten in the restaurant for a couple years, but it looks like they've upgraded the restaurant, and it's pretty clean.
I've found that with Tiffinstore's meat entrees it pays to wait a few hours after ordering to eat. The vegetable dishes are good right away. My guess is that they, like every other Indian restaurant, cook the meat separately and add it to the curry. The curry penetrates the meat more slowly than vegetables, so vegetable dishes taste great right away whereas the meat takes longer. I assume that tiffin.com makes the curry with the veggies or meat inside of it, because they can make it so many hours in advance.
and EVERYTHING is better once you heat it up the next day!!
actually from talking with several people, i've learned that the vegetarian entrees are (not surprisingly) where they excel. i highly recommend the paneer makhani or the malai kofta, if you're willing to give them another chance.
I should add a couple of qualifications here.
The vegetarian dishes are wonderful, and where a similar preparation is offered with vegetables or meat, I'd just as soon get the vegetables. The chunks of meat are fine, but it's the sauce that turns me on, and the paneer is every bit as tasty as the chicken or lamb. This is what I was thinking, when I gave my feedback to rabidog.
That said, their tandoor cooked dishes also excel! The chicken is tasty and tender, and both the tandoori chicken and the two tandoor chicken tikka dishes - which are marinated in yogurt - are wonderful. One of the three wasn't quite as moist as the other two, but was just fine. So you might want to try this more than once before you pass final judgement. I haven't tried either the tandoori vegetables or the tandoori kebab or surf and turf - with lamb or shrimp - which sound very promising.
Which brings me to my next qualification:
"EVERYTHING is better once you heat it up the next day!!" may be true for vegetarians, and with slow heating is fine for the saucy dishes, but the tandoori dishes will dry out and lose flavor when reheated. This is why I'm holding off on the surf and turf until I have the chance to eat it right away, probably there. Shrimp will turn to rubber in a moment when reheated, and chicken can become pretty dry.
As for my older post about the extras, much of what I said is no longer relevant. Where they used to offer raita with almost everything, they no longer offer it at all except with briyanis. And the briyanis no longer come with dal.
The new menu has also additional chicken and lamb dishes and vegetable pakora replacing the paneer pakora.
Between three visits, I've tried seventeen different dishes now! I hope I don't get burned out on Indian food before I get to route 30!
^ photorc, even if you do burn yourself out on indian food, if you make the trek out just once, your love will be reborn.
i just had a disappointing meal at karma in old city, which i'm off to find a thread to post officially in. it makes me glad to have tiffin and the western suburbs at my fingertips.