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)
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:
Naan / Garlic Naan
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!
Here are a couple older threads on Indian caterers that have a few more names for you.
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.
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.
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:-)
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.
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!
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
509 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102
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.