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SF - Lunch Buffet at Sultan

Just got back from a stupendous lunch at the new Sultan location, opposite the Hilton on O’Farrell.

Here is what was on offer.

Utthapam
Sambar
Pakoras (rice flour fritters)
Lamb Korma (perfectly spiced)
Chicken Makhani (aka Butter Chicken)
Mint Chicken Tikka Kabab
Malai Kofta
Chana Masala
Tamarind Rice
Mutter (Peas) Mushroom
Baingan (Aubergine) Bhartha
Naan
Poppadums
Fresh sliced fruit
Raita (cucumber and tomatoes)
Chai

My favourites were the Utthapam, lamb and the Mutter Mushroom. Naan was so-so.

And the menu for the buffet - changes every single day.

I definitely recommend giving this place a shot.

Cheers !

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  1. Sounds great! What's the price? I assume this could be a quick-ish lunch since it's buffet?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dave MP

      Dave,

      Cost is $12 per head with tax. I think it is excellent VFM.

      1. re: osho

        Thanks for reporting. Is it possible to order from the menu during lunch or is it buffet-only during that time?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          That's one thing I did not ask the proprietor. Didn't occur to me, because the buffet was pretty good :-)

        2. re: osho

          Awesome. I think I'll try to go tomorrow or Thursday.

      2. Is the naan fired to order or sitting on the buffet table?

        -----
        Sultan
        340 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Naan is brought to your table - fresh from the oven.

        2. I just got back from lunch w/ coworkers - we all agreed that the food was excellent (and different than typical Indian places) and that for 12 dollars it was a great value.

          Some of the items were same as osho described, but some were different. I don't remember the names of everything, but I'll do my best. As osho says, the menu changes every day, and you can call ahead to find out what's for lunch in the morning if you want.

          The South Indian chef wasn't there today, so there was no uttapam or other S. Indian dishes - I was initially disappointed, but everything was so good I left happy despite this. For dinners, the S. Indian chef is there every day except Monday.

          Vegetable Pakoras (rice flour fritters w/ veggies) - perfectly fried, not greasy.

          Lamb Korma (perfectly spiced) - ditto. Some lamb pieces were rather fatty, sauce was awesome.

          Chicken Makhani (aka Butter Chicken)

          Tandoor Chicken (tender pieces of chicken w/ onions, bright orange and succulent) - spicy!

          Gujarati Eggplant and Potatoes - my favorite for the day, dryer than most Indian eggplant dishes I've tried, but eggplant and potatoes were cooked well and very flavorful.

          Chana Masala

          Okra - very good as well

          Dal - nice flavor, mild and perfectly cooked. Excellent.

          Sweet and sour chicken - Indian version of Chinese food - I wasn't a huge fan, but I did think it was typical of Chinese food I ate when I was in India.

          White rice

          Naan - served fresh from the oven to the table - not as good as the naan at Lahora Karahi, but still good.

          Poppadums

          Tamarind chutney, mint chutney

          Raita (cucumber and tomatoes)

          Mango pudding/custard w/ homemade tiny vermicelli

          Fresh melon

          Chai - also not as good as Chai at other places (Vik's, Lahora Karachi) but nice - served unsweetened w/ sugar packets.

          Service was excellent, and it was a great bargain considering how much we ate and hw good the food is. Definitely worth checking out.

          Thanks osho for the report!

          Dave MP

          2 Replies
          1. re: Dave MP

            No worries Dave. Glad you liked it.

            1. re: Dave MP

              I went for lunch again yesterday (Tuesday). They had South Indian this time: idli w/ sambar. The sambar was very good, their style has the vegetables (eggplant, carrot, others?) in big chunks, which I like. Also served w/ the idli were two chutneys: coconut and tomato, both very good and not too sweet. They also had a nice mango chutney on the other table w/ a mint chutney, raita and tamarind chutney.

              The dishes were different once again, and I don't remember them all: navratan korma, lamb, tamarind rice, bombay style potatoes, vegetable fritters (which seemed like mostly onion), a few other things too.

              The chai was better than it was on my first visit.

              Overall, great place and great value. I forgot to ask if they have the buffet on the weekend too.

              Dave MP

            2. I had a wonderful lunch at Sultan with my aunt. Perhaps half of the dishes above were different from Osho and Dave's lists. My favorites were the chicken tikka masala, lamb with lentils, and spinach with lamb. My aunt said the aloo gobi was very good (I don't like cauliflower).

              Sauces were light and luscious. Nothing was especially spicy; perhaps if you order off the menu, you can get a more authentic level of heat.

              Service was friendly, and several people including an older woman we assumed was the cook asked how we liked the food. Our water glasses were never empty.

              This is a lovely space. Comfortably, very classy, much better plates than you would expect at a buffet or on the edge of the Tenderloin. A fine place to have a conversation and linger. I asked about the Gujarathi meals and was pointed to a number of dishes on (very long) dinner menu. There weren't any dosas at lunch, but the dinner menus lists at least six.

              Looking forward to returning soon, especially given the rotation on the buffet items. Worth noting that both because of the food and atmosphere, this is a good place to take people who don't ordinarily like Indian food.

              1. Today I had the lunch buffet at Sultan, and I was very impressed. The food, the service and the decor were far more polished than I expected.

                My favorite dishes were all vegetarian: the mushrooms in cream sauce (which I've never had before), Gujarati eggplant with potatoes, and chana masala. The naan was stellar, and the rice pudding was probably the best I've had at an Indian restaurant in San Francisco--lots of cardamon.

                The chicken was a bit dry for me, but I was happy enough to get seconds on the three vegetarian dishes I liked.

                All in all, an excellent value--I wish I worked closer so I could visit more frequently.