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Catering for Indian Wedding

Hey all -

I'm getting married in a couple months, and we're wading through a list of caterers without making much progress. I thought I'd reach out and ask you folks here, see if anybody has any thoughts!

We're looking for a fairly standard vegetarian north Indian meal, ideally onsite tandoor ovens for fresh naan, total headcount of about 350.

We've tried a few places so far, and have seen a pretty big range in price and quality. At the lower end, something like Bombay Garden (Newark) may fit the bill - very reasonably priced, but food quality seems variable.

On the higher end, got quotes from Shiva, Amber (both in Mountain View). A good deal more expensive, but the food was of much higher caliber then we had at Bombay Garden.

Anybody have any experience with other catering options? Here's some we've had mentioned to us, but I don't have any eating experience at any:

Golden Peacock (Fremont)
Madhuban (Sunnyvale)
Turmeric (Sunnyvale)
Bay Leaf (San Jose)

I also dropped a call to Sultan, in San Francisco. They said they don't formally have a catering program, but they do it on request. Waiting to hear back from them on details. I really like their food, so perhaps that will work out.

If you've read this far, and are interested, menu-wise, we're looking at something like the following:

Appetizers:
Paneer Tikka
Gobi Manchurian
Samosas

Dinner:
Mattar Paneer
Dal Makhani
Navratan Korma
Bhindi Masala
Rice
Naan / Garlic Naan
Raita
Salad
Gulab Jamun

If anybody has any menu ideas, perhaps interesting things they've seen at other Indian weddings, I'm definitely open!

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  1. Here are a couple older threads on Indian caterers that have a few more names for you.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/45514
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/42839

    The first one has a link to an Indian caterer directory. When you've had a chance to look at that, you might post the names of the ones you're most interested in and see if that prompts some opinions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Most catering I have had (and not wedding) has been from the restaurants mentioned, but I wouldn't recommend Darbar.

      Close to Palo Alto, there is a local caterer call Tiffin Dinners that does a lot of campus meals for a reasonable price. The food is really more home cooking though, so I am not sure it would be a good fit. You could call to find out though.

      I actually really like Tumeric. I find the sauces rich, full and balanced. Although, I have been told the naan is "eh." I haven't had bhindi masala there, or ghobi manchurian, but they make a fantastic ghobi musallam. Their paneer tikka is good too. Desserts are also not a strong point there IMO.

      Bombay Garden. There I have had good Navratan Korma - in fact most of their very rich sauces are good. I have had more hit or miss on the dal and the bhindi masala there. Gulab jamun is good. But in general, I think it is solid and they are used to doing large events at the Newark facility at least.

      Passage to India in Palo Alto has very good bhindi masala, but it is - well - my kids favorite place because it isn't so spicey. Plagued with morning sickness it was the only Indian food I cold keep down : ). I prefer the above two places, but Passage has very good desserts IMO. I love their carrot halwa, even though that isn't on your menu.

      I do like Amber, but they are pricey. Desserts are also subpar there I think.

      1. re: jsaimd

        Athidhi offers catering for weddings. I have not had the catering, but the food in both the Sunnyvale and Fremont restaurants is very good.

        Michael

        -----
        Athidhi
        727 South Wolfe Road, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

        Athidhi
        47986 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539

    2. I recently attended a graduation party at a friend's home (approx. 125 guests, maybe more) catered by Shabnum restaurant & thought the food was very good. I only saw the truck with the name & while I can't be 100% certain, am pretty sure this is the one in Mountain View (party was in Saratoga). Food was very good but rich; however, the standouts were the appetizers including tandoor items & the perfectly crisp & tangy jalebis (made on site).

      A friend attended a dance recital at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in which the all veg. dinner was catered from Mayuri & commented the food was excellent. Unfortunately, I missed the event. All the food was prepared offsite & the headcount was approx. 300.

      Funny I had been to both of these restaurants just a couple of months prior to the events & hadn't thought highly of them. Have to admit, they were lunch buffets:-)

      http://www.shabnumbistro.com/
      http://www.mayuricuisine.com/

      Good Luck!

      3 Replies
      1. re: ceekskat

        Shabnum in Mountain View is gone, replaced by Mirchi Indian Cafe. They could still be catering, or perhaps it is a different group.

        Michael

        1. re: ceekskat

          Perhaps I shouldn't be judging by the buffets? I had dinner tonight at Turmeric in Sunnyvale. Had heard good things about the food there, but the buffet was thoroughly mediocre . . .

          1. re: nsheth

            I try to avoid buffets, as most foods taste better cooked to order. Bear in mind that the chef is under pressure to keep the cost low to hit the fixed price. OTOH, if you're having a buffet for your event, maybe this gives an indication of how it will turn out.

        2. try Raja Sweets & Catering look them at www.rajasweets.com they do on site catering with tandoor.

          5 Replies
          1. re: msbains

            With a little negotiation, we got the Shiva price reduced a bit, and are just going to go with them. Tiring to set up appointments, figure out pricing, doing tastings, etc. I think it's that way with a lot of these vendors - overwhelmed by options, you get sick of it and just pick something easy!

            Thanks for the help!

            On a side note, attended a friend's wedding over the weekend, they had catering from Udipi Palace, a pretty traditional south indian menu. I wasn't familiar with a few of the dishes (there wasn't any dosa, no idli, no vada - the things I generally associate with south indian food), but overall things were very good.

            1. re: nsheth

              Just a (long overdue) followup note -

              As the groom, I ended up not actually getting to eat all that much that evening. But, everyone was generally raving about the food (again, catered from Shiva in Mountain View). I had one friend who had never liked Indian food, and he's become a convert. For the appetizers, one of the dishes we had gotten was gobi manchurian, which several of our guests proclaimed the best they ever had (sadly, I didn't get to try any that day).

              Also, we used the The Cakemaker for our wedding cake (San Francisco, Hayes Valley) - the cake was very tasty!

              1. re: nsheth

                Congratulations, and thanks for getting back to us (good to know you weren't a runaway groom)! This will be very helpful to future event planners. Service-wise, was Shiva's up to cooking for 350 guests? Tandoor ovens on site?

                -----
                Shiva's Indian Restaurant
                800 California St Ste 100, Mountain View, CA 94041

                The Cakemaker
                509 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Yes, tandoor ovens on site. And I think they handled the size fine - the appetizers had run out by the time I got there, but I think that was bound to happen based on our timings (and the fact that they were really good).

                2. re: nsheth

                  Congratulations & thanks so much for reporting back!

            2. This is late for your event, but perhaps someone else will find it useful. I attended a reception at New Delhi Restaurant in downtown SF and the food was fantastic. Usual mixed crowd: 3/4 Indian, 1/4 American and everyone seemed very happy with their dinner. I know my date was one of those guys who claimed to hate all Indian food, but he was impressed too. And they had tandooris on site (I asked).

              So if there's any other Indian brides out there, give this place a shot. The owner seemed really nice as well.

              1. N,

                Where did you have your reception? I'm trying to plan my own large Indian wedding, and it's difficult to find a venue for so many people. Help! And Happy Anniversary!

                Thanks,
                Amy

                4 Replies
                1. re: amydhall

                  We had both our ceremony and our reception at the Canyon View Dining Hall in San Ramon.

                  http://www.canyonviewdining.com/

                  1. re: nsheth

                    I went to a reception here for a desi wedding a few months back and the catering was incredible. Do you happen to know if it is the in-house caterer or a particular caterer that they contract out to?

                    1. re: adrienne156

                      I think they do have an in-house catering option, but you can also bring your own (as we did).

                  2. re: amydhall

                    Have attended and catered Indian weddings (300+ ppl) at the SF design center. Really nice space with plenty of parking on weekends and an onsite kitchen which is VERY helpful for the caterers.

                    http://www.sfvenues.com/