Sunday, December 07, 2003

Royal Khyber - Costa Mesa

Had a great experience at Royal Khyber recently. The restaurant is replete with fine art, romantic lighting, white table cloths and nice silverware. Very upscale place, but quiet when we arrived at 6:00 pm.

A few customers did trickle in eventually; a pair of ladies with business suits; a trio of 20-somethings in jeans; and an Indian girl in her twenties meeting the family of her Caucasian boyfriend for the first time. I guess she picked the restaurant.

The staff, professionally uniformed was warm and accomodating and refilled out water glasses as soon as it was half empty.

A basket with crispy wafer-like crackers were brought out with two sauce accompaniments. The green sauce was herby, chunky and spicy; the dark burgundy sauce was sweet, sour and hot. (If anyone can educate me on what this was, I'd be appreciative). I almost singlehandedly obliterated the crackers; delicious.

We ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Tulsi Mushroom Matar Khorma, which was described as "fresh mushrooms and peas sauteed in basil cocunut gravy." Both dishes were a la carte, and served in ornate silver serving platters. To accompany the main dishes, we also had two orders of basmati rice pilaf, which had slivers of carrot and something else I could not identify. The rice was fluffy and aromatic, a perfect foil to the tikka masala, which was bright red and had the right level of spice and creaminess. I tasted roasted red peppers in the sauce. The chicken chunks in it were white meat and moist. The mushrooms and peas were tasty too; the brown gravy had a great and powerful blend of spices I've never had before, its hotness tempered by the coconut milk. For dessert, we had the mango creme brulee which had combined the classic custard flavor with the tartness and sweetness of mango. The caramelized sugar crust further balanced the tartness of the custard. All in all, a great meal. I will be back for more someday.


At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if they still have the sunday brunch. I used to go here on occasion and really loved it. I think it used to be $15 for the brunch, which is a deal as you got your choice of entree, and then whatever you wanted of the buffet. I liked their kheer a lot.

As usual, I am late to the party. Am enjoying your blog. I wanna see more pics! hehe

At 8:09 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Hey Joan!

Thanks for visiting. Better late than never!

I didn't know Royal Khyber had a buffet. $15 is pretty reasonable if they still charge that much.

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Royal Khyber is a over-priced, over-hyped place. I went there twice and both times I noticed that most of the customers were non-Indians. That should have given me a clue. You should try India Cook House on Culver for a real taste of North Indian cuisine.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the red sauce was Tamarind and the "crackers" were papadum, fried lentil wafers. The green was either mint chutney or onion.

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family and I for the first time went to Royal Khyber last night (5 adults and two children 10yrs/13 yrs old). The ambiance, food taste and service was excellent.

The cost was high ($240) but this is Orange County. The richest county in the USA. Expect to spend money there but there is a lot for the return. The portions seemed just right. We ordered several differnt breads and 6 dishes to share among 7 people. The $240 cost included all the food, two beers and 5 sweet Lassi drinks, 3 desserts and tip. At any given time we has 2-3 severs taking care of our table and the restaurant was 70% full.

If you want to lower the cost then I am assuming the service, ambiance and great food taste to be generally lower.


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