If variety is the spice of life, then Parivaar is cooking on all four burners.
The Indian eatery, which is named after the Sanskrit word for “family,” has been open a few months and joins the growing list of restaurants in the Hampden Center off the Carlisle Pike.
This past Saturday evening, my companion and I arrived around 5:30 p.m., only to learn that the establishment doesn’t open until 6, so we entertained ourselves by grabbing an adult beverage at another relatively new establishment in the same plaza, Mellow Mink Brewing.
When we returned a little after 6 p.m., we were greeted by a smiling gentleman who led us to a roomy booth in the middle of the spacious room.
Because it was Saturday night, I expected there would be some sort of buffet, but quickly learned that the buffet is served during lunch hours only.
Soon after we took our seats, a crisp, Indian flatbread called Papadum arrived at our table, along with a light green chutney flavored with yogurt and cilantro and another sweeter chutney flavored with tamarind.
My advice is to take a peek at the menu online at www.parivaarrestaurants.com, so that you have an idea of what to order when you arrive. The choices are too extensive to enumerate here, but everything, including prices, can be found on the website. If there’s an Indian dish you’re craving, chances are it will be there. Whether you’re in the mood for ingredients like shrimp, goat, fish or chicken, or would prefer a vegetarian dish, you’ll likely be pleased to find more than a few options available.
Because we had an idea of what we wanted beforehand, we were ready to place our orders rather quickly, starting with samosas ($3.99), and followed by garlic naan ($1.99), goat rogan josh ($12.99), chana masala ($7.99) and my choice of butter chicken ($10.99).
As we waited for our meals, I admired the three large, elegant glass chandeliers, which served as a focal point in the large room. Attractive sconces add a soft light to the space, highlighting the pale ochre walls. A fresh, red rose placed on each table adds yet another subtle touch of elegance.
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It didn’t take long for the samosas to hit the table. The hot triangles bursted with potatoes and bright tasting spring peas. I took one bite and the spice level hit the back of my throat, making me glad for the bottled water that is available at each table setting.
After that, the service became a bit uneven, and we waited quite some time for the main course to arrive. I’d say it was about a half hour or so, so do keep this in mind.
You could, however, say that good things come to those who wait. Our entrees were hot, delicious and fresh tasting. My butter chicken, made with small, boneless chicken pieces, tomato sauce, butter and cream, was silky, savory and served with a side of fluffy basmati rice.
My dinner companion’s rogan josh contained bone-in pieces of tender goat, combined with tomatoes, ginger, cinnamon, onion, garlic, chili flakes and other spices. He raved about the dish, describing it as “the best he’d ever had,” which is saying something because he orders that same dish at quite a few Indian establishments.
The chickpea dish, otherwise known as chana masala, was also tasty and hearty, cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices.
Of course, no Indian meal is complete without naan. Ours was soft, chewy, studded with tiny bits of garlic and perfect for soaking up the “gravy” in our respective dishes.
Portions were generous for the price and we plotted our return as we waited to pack up our leftovers for the next day. Unfortunately, the staff seemed to have forgotten us, so we took it upon ourselves to approach the front register and request “to go” boxes. They arrived at our table in short order, but we were rather surprised at the lack of attention after the food hit the table, especially since the establishment was less than a quarter full. Maybe this is something they should be mindful of in the future because I’d hate to see another restaurant in the area close due to something that could easily be rectified.
As for the food, I can’t say enough about it, and if you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you’re not in a hurry.
Next Up: Lunch at Burd’s Nest Brewing Company in Carlisle