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Oct 31, 2010 04:54 AM

WRETCHED Meal at Tiffin Last Week

I ate dinner at Tiffin Mt. Airy this week and had an across the board, hideous meal. No brightness,
no subltelty, a raw, soggy,not crisp outer shell with a sugary sweet filling that had NO flavor in a deep fried appetizer, absolutely zero flavor in the Tandori chicken and too much cream in our main dish which had also taken a trip through the deflavorizer. Never again!!! Tiffin is expanding all over the burbs and offering food which does not exemplify the complexity and exquisite aspects of Indian food in any way. And the take out was FLYING out the door, we need options in Mt. Airy !!!!!!!!

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  1. Could I suggest you give Saffron a try at one of its two locations. We love Indian food and have some experience with it at locations in the United Kingdom. We have found Saffron to be excellent and have avoided Tiffin since finding it. Finding great Indian in Philadelphia is a challenge. Perhaps we can garner other suggestions from the "hounds"?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Bacchus101

      I second Saffron, I have always had across the board fabulous meals there, perfect balance of heat and spice, everything tastes fresh (which sometimes gets lost in indian restaurants). The Ambler location is not too far from Mt. Airy. We live in Ambler and do the reverse drive into Mt. Airy all the time (Wine Theif is a favorite) and its a quick drive.

      1. re: AmblerGirl

        We had dinner at Saffron in Ambler last night - perfect as always. Even though they couldn't find our reservation, they were very gracious and seated us immediately. We live in Ft. Washington and also make the Mt. Airy drive frequently, it's easy and quicker than you think it will be.

      2. re: Bacchus101

        I live a couple blocks from Saffron in Bala Cynwyd and tried the Tiffin from Wynnewood. Saffron is a few bucks more, but worth it.

        1. re: phillyjazz

          I certainly concur. Saffron is the clear winner in this area.

        2. re: Bacchus101

          The King of Prussia area seems to be the best bet for Indian cuisine. There are some threads about it:

          1. re: Bacchus101

            If we're going more regional, I have tended to avoid Indian in the city for the most part (given similar experiences + not knowing which were the goto places), and when in the mood or when in the area have hit Iselin/Edison and Jersey City -- certainly not a quick if you're in Philly, and not an after/work thing coming from Philly, but when you need authentic, you go to the source!

            Also - closer to home, I've gone to a Pakistani place (no, not Indian, but some common dishes including samosas, a few similar chutneys, chai, tandoori), Kabobeesh, on Chestnut and 42nd:

          2. I've yet to have bad food from Tiffin, we probably eat their food once a month or so and have for the past year and a half. So maybe - I'm hoping? - just an off night.

            The one thing I do dislike about Tiffin, though, is the priority they give to takeout/delivery. When you eat there, you definitely don't feel like you're their priority. It would feel a lot better if they somehow had it physically separated, so that the people getting their takeout right away woudn't be walking past you all the time during your dining-in experience.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bob Loblaw

              Nope, not an off night as far as I'm concerned. I've eaten at Tiffin several times, never been happy with my meals(and neither have my dining companions) but this last one put the nail in the samosa. The lack of care in any restaurant meal is unforgiveable to me. I am careful where I choose to eat. I was very hungry the night I ate at Tiffin, worrying that I would not be happy but threw caution to the wind. Too bad the fantastic Dosa Hut in Trooper is so far. They serve great,tasty,authentic,cheap South Indian food.

              Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try Saffron.

              1. re: missclaudy

                Well, if you've never had a good meal there, and I've never had a bad one, sounds like different strokes for different folks.
                I don't want to overexagerrate it - I wouldn't travel that far for Tiffin's food, but I'm really really glad to have it in the neighborhood. But, again, I wish that they would be better at treating the eat-in folks like they were a bigger priority.

            2. You say "expanding all over the burbs." Is this a chain or franchise? I'll make sure to approach with caution.

              On a more promising note, we are getting a new Indian restaurant in Trooper (Rt. 363 and Ridge Pike) next to the Acme in the space vacated by that abominable Chinese buffet. I think its called Spice Kitchen. Its not open yet but put it on your radar.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Chefpaulo

                Tiffin was started as a new concept delivery service for Indian food, modeled after the tiffinwallahs in India who deliver hot meals to businessmen daily. The owner has an MBA from Penn, but I believe his first chef came from Ekta. The first location was in NoLib, and the only thing they offered was either take-out or the delivery service. The stuff was very good, and the service unique. They added a dining area to the NoLib location, and started expanding to other locations as well. They have also added a line of spices to their repertoire. I was quite a fan back when they first started, however I have become much less so over the years. I might order from Tiffin, but would not really go to one of their locations for a sit-down meal. I have to admire the business accumen on the guy who started the whole thing. You can check them out at

                1. re: PattiCakes

                  A British concept with execution by Indians started during the British Raj for the delivery of individually home prepared food; remarkable indeed and still going strong today. I was not aware that Tiffin attempted the delivery part ? Sorry to say we also have been recently disappointed in the food, venues and service at Tiffin.

                  1. re: PattiCakes

                    Actually Tiffin predated Ekta. Raju Bhattarai is the chef/owner of new kid on the block Ekta. He's also Tiffin's former executive chef. Ekta has been around since 2008 if my memory serves me correctly. Now the two companies are competing head to head. TIffin is supposed to be opening a new high dining version of Tiffin (think Cafe Spice but done well ... ). But both Ekta and Tiffin have been expanding to the burbs.. where there certainly is a demand, especially among young professionals of indian origin that miss their mother's cooking.

                    1. re: PattiCakes

                      Tiffin came first, then the chef left to start Ekta. I just wish either of them delivered to South Philly (I know some Ekta food is available at Green Aisle).

                      1. re: barryg

                        Sorry I got confused. Where did Tiffin's original chef come from? I thought he came from and existing place in Philly.

                        The original concept was really cool. You could order one of 3 tiffins for lunch -- two being vegetatian, and one with meat. The tiffin consisted of the entree, a dahl and a vegetable offering--the dahl and the veggie were that same for each of that day's offerings. You also got basmati rice. The cost was $7.50 or $8.50, and the tiffin was delivered to you. I work at 20th & market, & went through a period where I ordered so much from them that I should have been wearing a sari to work. Then they imposed a $15 minimum for deliveries, which threw me fo a loop. No one else at work likes Indian food, 2 tiffins is too much for me to eat, if you order an entree you lose the varietry of the sides, yada yada. And their online ordering is now somewhat quirky. I haven't ordered from them in almost a year.

                        1. re: PattiCakes

                          Munish Narula started Karma before he started the Tiffin franchise... I do not recall if a chef came along with him from Karma.

                  2. That's a shame. We had take-out from the Elkins Park Tiffin and it was as usual, which is to say good, but not great Indian. I always love the saag paneer and it seemed the same as always. Considering the limited options around here, I'm glad Tiffin is what it is.

                    1. Ekta is the best Philadelphia area Indian food I've had. Not sure if either location is located close to you.