Print Edition: February 18, 2015
Abbotsford is full of authentic and colourful restaurants. Sushi, pho, Thai, Italian, busy little bistros, cute coffee shops, dimly lit pubs, character diners — we’ve got it all, and we’ve got it good.
One cuisine Abbotsford does very well is Indian. And Gian’s Indian Cuisine is definitely the cream of the crop.
I went with a couple of friends recently, having heard good things about the buffet. Unfortunately we went for dinner, and the buffet is only for lunch (11:30 – 2:00). I was looking forward to the buffet because I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to Indian cuisine, and I like the idea of grazing and trying new dishes.
As an alternative, I shared a dinner for two. We ordered mild, because I’m not a heat person (and yes, I know I’m missing out). The issue with ordering the dinner for two is that they can only bring out the order in one heat level — my friend would have preferred medium. My third friend , who’s a heat-freak, ordered a butter chicken entrée as spicy as he could go. Interestingly, the heat wasn’t enough for him. If you’re a hardcore spicy-heat person, maybe Gian’s isn’t for you.
My dinner included papadums, veggie samosas, butter chicken, aloo ghobi, basmati rice, naan and dessert. It was $27 for two, and it was definitely enough for two hungry students.
The papadums were nothing special, kind of like the Indian version of breadsticks. It’s a dry, thin bread that tastes like it’s made with sesame, and maybe spiced with cumin. There were two mysterious but delicious sauces — one was green, very spicy, and was definitely made with cilantro. The other was red, milder, and very sweet. We munched on the papdoms for a while, and our food came out promptly.
Veggie samosas always feel to me like a more exciting Cornish pasty. The samosas we ate were a little bland with the mild heat order; I dipped it into the sauces meant for the papadoms.
The butter chicken and aloo ghobi were delicious. The butter chicken had barely any heat; the sauce was so creamy and rich. The chicken pieces themselves were a little dry, but it was still the best butter chicken I’ve had in an Abbotsford restaurant. The menu describes the butter chicken as made in “heavenly spices” — I agree. Yum! The aloo ghobi (cauliflower and potatoes cooked in a curry sauce) was cooked just right, so that the cauliflower was firm but soft.
The naan is definitely something to rave about. They came out so hot and soft, with just the right amount of butter. You don’t even need to order the garlic naan; the regular naan is fantastic on its own.
Our meal finished with a dessert, just fruit served in sweet, light cream. It was a very good way to end a spiced Indian meal — smooth, creamy, and sweet.
Gian’s impressed me. The service was good, my water was always full, and the server was always available. The place has clean, classy interiors with roomy booths. While the prices aren’t so good that you could go every week (It was about $18 per meal for us), it’s worth it for good food and good service. You’ve got to treat yo’self once in a while, and I highly recommend Gian’s to be the place you go.