Guam Diner Bytes: Grand Taj Curry & Grill

by Ken Stewart
The Guam Food Guy

Owned and managed by restaurant veteran Chef Singh Kotwal, it’s definitely meeting the expectations of many dinner patrons as well as those who are lining up for the Grand Taj’s all-you-can-eat weekday lunch buffet, which is priced at $10.99 (plus 10% service charge). 

Though I generally prefer to wait until a restaurant has been operating long enough to work through the kinks of starting up business, I thought it would be a good idea to do a brief review of their lunch buffet.

If you love the cuisine of India as much as I do, then I can vouch for the Grand Taj’s authenticity. Given Chef Singh’s heritage and passion, it makes a lot of sense for him to focus on the food that has such a special place in his heart. Adding to the credibility of this restaurant, Chef Singh has recruited the support of his uncle, Guman Singh Dabrwal, who is experienced in the preparation and cooking of Indian food and was Chef Singh’s first mentor. To make this even more of a family business, Singh has put his son, Sisank, and daughter, Swetha, to work in the front of the house, greeting customers and overseeing the staff.

Despite being open just over a week, the staff at Grand Taj is already well ahead of most other new restaurants and even many existing ones in terms of service. They are constantly checking on your table, asking if everything is okay, and if you like the taste of your food, or if you’d like some more of their hot, tandoori-baked Naan bread, which is FREE during lunch - it costs $4 per order at dinner.

The buffet features a modest salad bar (please excuse the anemic tomatoes), both saffron and white rice, and a few hot entrees that vary each day. The day I visited Pork Vindaloo, Navaratan Korma, Chicken Makhni, Fried Chicken, Aloo Gobai, Dal Makhni, and Lentil Soup were featured. There were two desserts available: Carrot Halva and Gulab Jamun (a milk ball in sugar syrup with almond).

The spicy and aromatic sauces in the Chicken Makhni and Pork Vindaloo were absolutely delicious. You can tell these dishes were made by someone who knows what they are doing! The Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower) is a savory vegetarian dish. I had Raitha (the classic Indian food “cooler” of cucumber/yoghurt cream) and mango chutney. As I said, lots of flavor combinations.

Keep in mind that the Grand Taj is still in its early stages and that they are busy refining their service procedures. The room got a bit warm, but I’ve heard that the hotel is working on the air-conditioning. Things take time, however.

Indian cuisine is complex and requires a lot of knowledge to order and to serve. I will return in a few weeks for the Grand Taj’s a la carte dinner, which I hear is tantalizing and fun.

Dinner hours are 5:30-10pm daily. An a la carte lunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am-2pm, while the lunch buffet is Monday thru Friday from 11:30am-2pm. I can’t wait to try more of this authentic Indian cuisine!

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