Royal Paan on Meadowood Drive is a relatively recent discovery for me. A couple of weeks ago, I headed up to St. Vital Centre to see what was available at the Children’s Hospital Book Market. I managed to find a few deals as I navigated my way around the tables, and then decided I wanted to have an early supper.
Despite there being a relatively large number of options in the area, none of them was catching my eye, or stomach. However, as I walked along Meadowood, I noticed a place I had never seen before. This was Royal Paan.
Royal Paan is an Indian fast casual restaurant, part of a chain. The location is nice and bright with a good mix of tables and booths available. There is both table and counter service, whether you want to eat in or get your meal to go. The menu is a la carte, with most dishes ranging from $6.00 to $12.00. The menu is also vegetarian and vegan.
Fresh and Plentiful Food
Menus can be a bit deceiving at time, and when I saw the Royal Paan menu, I thought it would be a good idea to order two items. I ordered the Szechuan Idli and the Masala Fries. The Szechuan Idli is a savoury version of a traditional Indian breakfast dish. Sort of a spicy bread pudding. The texture was soft and the flavour was rich and spicy.
The Masala Fries are a sort of Indian Poutine. The fries were good and crispy. The gravy was plentiful and well spiced.
The deceiving part of the menu is the portion sizes. They are large. They are generally meant to be shared, I think. However, the prices are quite low on a lot of them, and so you think there won’t necessarily be a lot of food. In fact, the two dishes were more than I could handle.
That wasn’t helped along by the fact that I ordered one of the mango shakes as well. These are nice, thick and with plenty of mango flavour that doesn’t disappear as you drink.
Royal Paan Lunch
This past weekend I decided I’d head up to Royal Paan to make my second visit. Having had a huge meal the first time, I decided I would go with two of the cheaper items on the menu, increasing the chance that there wouldn’t be too much food. No such luck.
I ordered the Bhel Puri, which is only $6.00. This is a dish that features puffed rice, and is often found among the salads and pickles at Indian buffets. Here it is a dish unto itself and it is a substantial one. The spicy chutney mixed in with the tamarind sauce gives this a good combination of sweet and heat.
Along with this I had the Shaami Paneer Tikki. These are wraps filled with Paneer and other vegetables. The wraps were soft and chewy and the filling is rich and creamy. The order came with two and I ended up having one packaged up to go.
For a beverage I had Chai that had the addition of pistachios which gave a nice twist on the flavour, and several bits of nuts throughout that were slightly softer and easier on the teeth.
The staff here are very friendly. The menu states that because all dishes are prepared from scratch there may be a wait of up to half and hour for your food to arrive. Perhaps I hit the sweet spot as far as menu choices and restaurant busyness intersect, but all my dishes came within about 10-15 minutes.
I mentioned earlier that the menu was vegetarian, but I also noticed there were a lot of dishes that I wasn’t particularly familiar with from my experiences at other Indian restaurants. Mentioning this to my server she told me that their menu is reflective of the everyday food of India, whereas most Indian restaurants, I’m presuming of the North American variety, tend to specialize in what would be considered feast food in Indian.
I could certainly see myself eating this every day. There is a lot of variety here, and the dishes are so good, that you don’t even miss the meat. Royal Paan is a great place to visit, especially if you want to escape the food court at St. Vital.