Tamarind UCF

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 Tamarind UCF interior

Tamarind, the very good Indian restaurant in Winter Park, has opened a location in the culinarily starved eastern part of town. It apparently is not a secret — when I arrived one afternoon for lunch it was packed with happy diners.

Unfortunately, lunchtime has come to be synonymous with all-you-can-eat buffets in Central Florida Indian restaurants. Of course, the buffets are wildly popular because they offer what appears on the surface to be a good value. You get a tremendous amount of food for a reasonably small price. However, there's an uncounted cost of ingesting too many calories, but my complaint falls if not on deaf ears then ears that are filled with their owners' chewing noises.

Tamarind UCF buffet

If you're going to indulge in a buffet glutfest, it might as well be with the quality of food they serve at Tamarind. I have a feeling that the offerings change daily — the signage doesn't look too permanent. I liked the mong dal, lentils cooked with onions and tomato sauce, and the vegetarian methi aloo, potatoes and fenugreek leaves. There were also various chutneys and pickles. There was also a mild korma, chickpea salad and tandoori chicken. And, of course, cloved basmati rice. And before I could make it back to my seat with a plate of food, the young server had brought a basket of fresh naan to my table.

The servers move at a brisk pace considering it's a serve-yourself buffet. I was especially impressed when I saw a server intercept a diner who had gotten up to refill his plate. The server appropriately took the dirty plate and offered a clean one to the diner.

And all for $9.53, including tax. Of course, it's a better deal the more you eat (not).

Tamarind Indian Cuisine is at12309 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-237-0920.