Blue Royal Indian Cuisine offers hearty lunch buffet – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Papadam and naan, left, complete the ‘bhindi masala’ over rice from the lunch buffet at the Blue Royal Indian Cuisine east of Medford. Photo by Sarah Lemon

A buffet lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily at the Blue Royal Indian Cuisine in East Medford. Photos of Sarah Lemon

Chai tea can be ordered from the regular menu during lunch buffet service at the Blue Royal Indian Cuisine east of Medford. Photos of Sarah Lemon

Butter chicken, left, and tandoori chicken make up a plate with fish masala, rice and naan at the Blue Royal Indian Cuisine east of Medford. Photos of Sarah Lemon

Fresh fruit, sauces and other accompaniments are at the cold buffet lunch bar at Blue Royal Indian Cuisine east of Medford. Photos of Sarah Lemon

Pakora can include a variety of vegetables in the lunch buffet at Blue Royal Indian Cuisine east of Medford. Photos of Sarah Lemon

Raita, in the foreground, is one of many sauces and chutneys on the lunch buffet at the Blue Royal Indian Cuisine in east Medford. Photos of Sarah Lemon

Steam tables are generally not suitable for restaurant and cafeteria style dishes. Of the few foods that retain their character in this context, Indian tops the list.

When I heard that Blue Royal Indian Cuisine had instituted a lunch buffet late last year, I had to give this East Medford newcomer another look. Open since last spring, the Larson Creek Center establishment serves an almost encyclopedic menu in an equally vast dining room.

Blue Royal was very busy on a recent Monday lunchtime when my friend and I met for a long overdue lunch. She confessed to jumping the gun and visiting the buffet the night before with her husband, who was so envious of her plans at the Blue Royal with me that she placated him with a birthday lunch. It was good enough, she attested, to warrant a recall.

Indeed, some dishes were offered for the second consecutive day. “Bhindi masala”, a recipe featuring okra as the main ingredient, won over my friend’s husband and me with its bold spice palette, generous texture and verdant hue. The vegetable “pakora” and the classic “chana masala” of chickpeas, onion and tomato were the other vegetarian specialties.

A paradise for vegetarians at dinner time, Blue Royal offers a regular menu of no less than 20 plant-based dishes, not to mention its selection of breads, which also boasts gluten-free. At lunchtime, the “assorted naans” pile up in one of the compartments of the buffet. And while I love India’s quintessential flatbread, especially sprinkled with garlic, I’d frequent Blue Royal for its ‘papadam’ alone.

Light as a feather, thin as paper, and pierced with tiny holes, the papadam plays on my palate like the crispiest, tastiest cracker. Blue Royal is expected to sell these snacks in bags at its front door, mimicking the traffic of local Mexican restaurants and taco trucks at “durros”.

Traditionally made with a flour or paste derived from lentils, chickpeas, black gram, rice or potatoes, papadam can be flavored with a variety of seasonings. Sprinkled with fennel seeds, Blue Royal’s are priced at $2 per order on the regular menu. But lunch crowds can munch on papadam to their heart’s content, preferably dipped in ‘raita’ yogurt and mint and tamarind chutneys.

These essential sauces also highlight the pakora, which vary depending on the day. When my friend and I had lunch at Blue Royal, these chickpea fritters were free-form tangles of sliced ​​peppers and onions. When I returned several weeks later with my partner, the pakora were stuffy slices of potato.

Just because a dish leans towards the plain doesn’t mean it’s delicious. I consciously minimize the consumption of Blue Royal’s superb steamed basmati rice to save room for other starches. But I could cram my plate into that rice, drizzled with raita and chutneys, and be almost satisfied. Vegetable lovers should doubly enjoy Blue Royal’s aromatic ‘pulao’, essentially rice pilaf from India.

Plenty of space on the buffet goes to chicken, with yogurt-marinated “tandoori” a reliable presence. But diners can usually count on “butter chicken,” a dish enjoyed for both its sweetness and richness. The version my friend and I tried seemed a little anemic, like Blue Royal was trying to stretch it during lunch service with a little added liquid. Thick and flavorful, it was chock full of chicken, apparently stripped of tandoori leftovers, the day my partner and I visited.

The tandoori roasted bird itself was juicy and succulent the day my friend and I had lunch, less so when I returned when I only asked for a small portion of leg. The spiciest was Blue Royal’s ‘chicken karahi’, a Pakistani dish rich in onions and fresh ginger. The chicken was more finely shredded in this dish than in the others.

Almost hidden in a coconut-enriched sauce, chunks of whitefish are far from impressing me like the “koliwada” fish I savored last spring. Reminiscent of a fisherman’s center in Mubai, this was probably the best dish I have eaten at a local Indian restaurant. But the “koliwada” has apparently left the regular menu, along with a whole specialty section designed by award-winning Californian chef Deepak Bhardwaj.

Still offering many preparations of shrimp, lamb, homemade paneer cheese and even goat meat, Blue Royal offers regular dishes from $13 to $23. Although I’ve yet to come across lamb on the lunch buffet, the price of $13.99 per person is hard to beat for unlimited carbs, protein, and a respectable variety of vegetables, including salad and fresh fruit.

From the cold table, don’t miss Blue Royal’s daily dessert, often the unmissable “kheer” with rice. New for me was “om Ali”, an Egyptian version of bread pudding made with phyllo or puff pastry, milk and nuts. Although the texture is not as smooth as the kheer, I enjoyed the departure from the typical Indian dishes.

I’ll keep my eyes peeled on future visits for ‘gulab jamun’, the ever-popular cheese balls simmered in sugar syrup and served hot. Lighter and healthier, ‘gajar halwa’, grated carrots simmered in milk and sugar, topped with chopped walnuts and raisins.

Located at 970 N. Phoenix Road, Blue Royal serves its lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Dinner is from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. Order online at blueroyalindiancuisine.com. Dial 541-773-6800.

Tempo information

Pho is for families at Noonie’s Boba Tea in downtown Medford.

The iconic Vietnamese noodle soup can be ordered in family size, from this month, for two to five people. Specify one protein choice per person and get $1 off the regular price of $17.95 per serving.

Proteins range from the popular beef tri-tip and stewed oxtail to grilled chicken and pork, shrimp, tofu and eggs. Fresh chilies, onions, scallions and cilantro complement Noonie’s broth and rice vermicelli, prepared to the level of spiciness customers desire. Delivery is available through DoorDash.

Open since December 2020 at 149 Central Ave., Noonie’s is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Dial 541-941-6022.

***

Grants Pass is the latest town to get a “red bubble tea truck”.

The Bobablast chain of food trucks has accelerated in Portland over the past five years and established a location in Medford on Crater Lake Highway in 2021. The Grants Pass truck at 1401 NE Sixth St. is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday.

According to the company’s website, bobablast.com, about 30 Bobablast trucks in Oregon, Washington and Hawaii serve boba tea in an “astonishing” 6,000 combinations. The Quintessential Boba combines black, oolong or jasmine tea, chilled, blended with milk and topped with chewy tapioca pearls. Various toppings, dairy alternatives, fruit and flower flavors and other additions make the boba endlessly customizable.

Drinks originating in Taiwan in the 1980s – popularized over the past decade in the Pacific Northwest – round out Bobablastic’s menu of rice bowls, spring rolls, hot dogs, nachos, loaded fries and waffle cones stuffed with sweet pepper, maple bacon or cheese-breaded chicken tenders.

***

Order drinks at Luna Cafe & Mercantile and support a charitable cause.

The Ashland Restaurant has pledged a donation of $2 for each special cocktail and $1 for each special lemonade to the Jackson County Fuel Committee throughout February. The volunteer-

run organization works to improve access to heating fuel – including firewood – to thousands of low-income households locally. See jcfuel.weebly.com

Located at 2525 Ashland St., Luna unveiled a new menu this month — featuring New York steak Stroganoff, chicken-bacon-ranch pizza and other dishes. Order at lunacafeashland.com or call 541-482-3372 for takeout and curbside pickup.

Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, until 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

***

Do you have a Tempo treat to share? Send news about the local restaurant, food and drink scene to: [email protected]

More online

Sarah Lemon has savored the Rogue Valley dining scene for nearly two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s restaurant column. His palate has helped judge some of the region’s food competitions and festivals. A former editor of A la Carte, the weekly food section of the Mail Tribune, she writes a bi-weekly column, The Whole Dish, as well as blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen at mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole.dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or check out facebook.com/thewholedish.

Comments are closed.