On New Year’s Eve, the lineup to pick up dinner at the new Tandoori Flavour on Oak Bay Avenue stretched all the way to the gas station next door.
The length of the line was exaggerated by COVID-19 restrictions. But the lineup has happened other nights since opening on Dec. 27.
“Oak Bay needed this,” said part-owner Sam Seera. “It’s been very, very busy.”
The restaurant at the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Amphion Street replaces Osaka Sushi.
Sita and Jasbir Bains are behind the trio of local Tandoori Flavour restaurants. Sita has 20 years in the restaurant business. They opened the first Tandoori Flavour four years ago in Royal Oak and another in Sidney two years ago. Both are a success and led to the addition of the Oak Bay Avenue shop.
The first wave of Indian restaurants were usually a couple working, including in the kitchen, Seera said.
Now it’s professional chefs and cooks, and like all restaurants in B.C., they’re hard to come by.
“The key is always good food,” Sita said.
It’s not uncommon for Indian restaurants to sponsor experienced chefs and bring them to Canada.
Tandoori Flavour chef Kulbeer Singh was a hotel chef in India and Berlin, Germany, before he came to Canada. Bhom Singh cooked his way to a lavish resort in the Maldives before he came here.
“More and more, people in town know their Indian food, and they expect it to be traditional and high quality,” Seera said.
Tandoori Flavour has a lunch buffet that is now open with limited booth seating as a dine-in option. Between their own in-house delivery, Skip the Dishes, and Doordash, it’s been a hectic start.
The biggest thing callers want to know about is dairy and gluten-free options, a testament to the sophisticated diets of the area.
“Every day someone asks about dairy-free, so we’ve made sure to label them,” Seera said.
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