Ambiyan Indian Restaurant
Address: 149 Main St, Unionville, ON L3R 2G8
Phone: (905) 480-0094
An authentic Indian restaurant situated in the historical 1800s Main Street, Unionville. You will last expect to find an Indian restaurant along the European styled street. The restaurant is easy to locate because it is the first restaurant in view if you are driving north of Highway 7. Great location! The restaurant other than serving Indian cultural cuisine, it is also a bar on the other side, different roles under one roof.
Interior decor can be updated. It has brown – beige tones. accompanied by reflecting mirrors and paired with little diamond patterned carpet. The LED overhead lighting was so strong and bright that it showed the ceiling dirt between the hanging rods. Not to mention, there was one particular bulb that continuously flickered, which was quite frustrating. The waiter or manager should have done something about it voluntarily, but did not. However, we did not fuss or complain about it either.
Sunday evening at 7 pm, the restaurant was quiet or empty, kind of surprised. By 9 pm, our group was the only table left in the restaurant. Service was, of course, speedy and our hardworking sole waiter kept filling our water jugs. He knew his menu off by heart, was able to describe flavours when we were unsure and gave recommendations when we asked him. He was really friendly, making small conversations with us too.
It is great that Ambiyan has its own Prix Fixe Menu, to offer more selection for a better price and for competition. Admire the fact the menu is tailored to fit different diet preferences – a vegetarian and must-have-meat selection – with different prices.
$25 for Non-Vegetarian:
Appetizer: choice of chicken samosa or chicken pakora
Main course: choice of one poultry or meat main course
Side: choice of basmati rice pilaf or freshly baked naan
$20 for Vegetarian:
Appetizer: choice of spinach pakora or Aloo Tikki
Main: choice of one vegetarian main course
Side: choice of basmati Rice Pilaf or Freshly baked naan.
Well, we had to have meat in our meals, therefore, the group chose the non-vegetarian option, $25 per person. I have posted the price of the individual appetizers and main course for comparison and for everyone’s information.
Chicken Pakoras ($11) are boneless chicken breasts deep fried in chickpea batter, served with tamarind chutney. The sauce, soul of the appetizer, was minty and was refreshing. The fried chicken breasts were bland without the tamarind chutney. But saying that, the batter was not oily, skin crispy and the chicken was juicy and tender.
Chicken Samosas ($9) are deep fried “dumplings” stuffed with chicken and potato, paired with tamarind and mint chutney. The skin was crunchy and crispy. As you take a bite into the samosas, the slight curry flavour oozes into your palette and aroma in the air. It was a mouthwatering piece, so soft in the middle, from mashing the ingredients to fill the “dumplings”.
Plain Naan ($3.75) is a white flour bread baked in tan door which came with the Prix Fixe meal. Garlic Naan ($4.25) is bread infused with garlic butter and coriander, which we ordered on top to try. Each other came with two slices. Basmati Rice Pilaf ($4.0) is the famous Indian rice infused with saffron. Honestly, nothing can ever go wrong with these sides, great to accompany the individual sauces the main course has to offer.
The restaurant offers different levels of spiciness. Vindaloo is the spiciest they have available and everything else ordered were either mild spicy or not spicy at all.
Chicken Vindaloo ($18) is a famous dish from Southwestern India State of Goa, made with white wine, garlic, chili and vinegar sauce.
Beef Vindaloo ($20) follows the spicy South Indian recipe, stewing beef chunks cooked in a white wine, vinegar, chili and garlic sauce.
Beef and chicken vindaloo taste the same. The main difference is the texture of the meat and the sauce. If beef is stewed long enough, the meat will become very soft and eventually, strands of beef will break away from the chunks. As a result, the vindaloo sauce became stringy and thick from the beef strands. Also, the beef juice was well mixed into the sauce and the beef chunks absorbed the spices of the sauce; had a strong beefy flavour.
The chicken tasted as good, except chicken is not a good meat when it comes to stewing, always have to hand peel to produce the same result as the beef. Nonetheless, the chicken bites absorbed the vindaloo spices nicely and was very juicy and soft.
Because vindaloo sauce is the spiciest, I specifically ordered it to see how spicy it really is. Initially thought the sauce was not that spicy, it was rather sour or tangy, which should be caused by the vinegar. The spiciness of the garlic and chilies slowly creeps up on you. I eventually realized I was sweating, tongue was burning and drinking cups of cold water continuously. It was an unexpected but fun form of spiciness. Furthermore, the sauce was very aromatic and was able to taste the wine infused into the food. The dish was absolutely great!
Butter Chicken ($18) is boneless diced chicken breasts simmered in a mild tomato cream sauce. The diced chicken breasts were extremely tender and juicy, skimmed away all the fat, and absorbed the wonderful sauce. The sauce was just amazing, sweet and rich in butter, at the same time brought out the spices, giving diverse flavours.
Lamb Roganjosh ($20) is cubed lamb slow-stewed with red chili, kashmiri garam masala and cumin. I do not favour lamb because of the acquired or aftertaste it has. But the texture of the lamb was similar to the beef- great stewing meat, soft and juicy- where the individual strands of lamb broke away from the chunks to thicken the sauce. Kashmiri garam marsala is comprised of many different herbs – cumin, bay leaves, peppercorn, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg. Therefore, the dish, a mixture of different herbs and spices amplified the freshness of the lamb. The combination of herbs complimented each other. Gorgeous! Because the aftertaste was not strong, since majority of it was covered by the heavy spices.
Mushroom Beef Curry ($20) is diced beef with sliced button mushrooms in a medium spicy sauce. This is a typical curry that Indians make, using dried herb powder. It was so good though. The space surrounded by the aroma of curry and the mouth watered by the heavy curry taste was just rewarding.
A closeup picture of the Chicken Vindaloo, detailed with a couple of slices of oranges and pearl onion.
A closeup picture of the Mushroom Beef Curry, garnished with fresh parsley.
I loved how authentic silver metal bowls and grail held the food, creating the formal atmosphere to a cultural Indian meal. It had a form of seriousness to the dinner. The dinner ware was quite heavy duty and had engravings on it, quite beautiful. Also, the metal holds heat better than glass; therefore food was always hot and warm.
Overall, I am very pleased with the meal. The portion sizes do not look big, but it was definitely enough, as we had leftovers to take out. In fact, the males said they were stuffed when everything was cleared on the dishes. Guess it was expected when the meal mainly consisted of proteins, carbohydrates and starch, lack of vegetables. However, I would like to say, if I ever need an Indian food fix, Ambiyan is definitely my first choice, especially when it is a close drive from home~