It’s Sunday, and late morning sunlight is pouring into your room mocking you for how late you’ve slept and the mountains of work that await you in the library. You stay in your bed unwilling to detach your head from your pillow in protest against the upcoming week. The thought of even seeing a campus building right now pains you. As you lie there, you cringe at the thought of eating yet another boring and unsatisfying bowl of cereal for breakfast. Maybe you consider a trip to Tambers, but you seriously fear the possibility of running into someone there with whom you’ll be forced to make conversation. So you decide this is a day to treat yourself to Sunday brunch at the Ambassador Dining Room.
I say you’re treating yourself, because the all-you-can-eat buffet style brunch is a splurge. You pay $15 for the all-you-can-eat extravaganza or $25 if you choose to also have drinks, which include make-your-own mimosas and bloody marys. The long buffet style table in the center of the main dining room is teeming with aromatic Indian dishes. Before you know it, your plate will be towering with a brightly colored array of saucy deliciousness on a bed of white rice. If you’re like me, you won’t even know what most of the dishes you’re trying consist of.
As an adventurous eater, I tackled this buffet with tried and true methodology. This technique requires two trips to the buffet. First, try small tastes of anything and everything that looks appealing. For me, this takes time and planning because practically everything looks appetizing and I need careful calculations in order to fit everything on my plate without having different sauces drip into one another. Next, dig in. Try everything, and cleanse your palate with warm naan between bites of each dish. Savor your favorites. When you’re finished, take a breather. Eating at a buffet like Ambassador’s takes time and patience. After all, you want to get your money’s worth! When you’ve rallied enough energy to stand up again, you can work up your appetite for round two by walking to the buffet spread. Then, heap large portions of your favorite dishes onto your plate (plus a few more tastes of enticing options that wouldn’t fit on your first round plate), and feast.
If you don’t already have Indian food favorites, don’t miss some of these delicious options. I always start off my plates of Indian food with the classic white rice with peas and a few slices of naan, a white flatbread. Chicken tikka masala is my go-to. Simply put, it is chicken that has been marinated in yogurt and lots of spices and then served in a tomato cream sauce. I recommend extra sauce for your naan! Palak paneer is not the prettiest dish to look at, but if you like creamed spinach, you’ll like this dish, which is served with cubes of cheese with a tofu-like consistency. Another favorite of mine is chana, a flavorful chickpea dish. This is served alongside vegetable pakora, a sort of potato cake, at Ambassador. For veggies, I love bhindi pyaaz, which is ocra served with chopped onions and doused in delicious spices.
And don’t forget about dips like raita, a yogurt sauce, or cilantro chutney for an extra burst of flavor and color on your plate. If you have any room left at the end of your meal, good for you! Help yourself to some cake and coffee! These dishes don’t even begin to scratch the surface of Ambassador’s wide array of dishes, but these plus many more are literally at your fingertips if you visit for Sunday brunch.
If your friends are going to Ambassador on a Sunday morning, but you’re not one for Indian food, don’t lose hope. Ambassador also offers a limited American breakfast selection including omelets and waffles at a made-to-order station. This option is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. For Indian food fanatics, on the other hand, Ambassador does serve à la carte dinner as well.
Located in an apartment building nestled somewhere between Chocolatetea and One World Café, the Ambassador feels like an escape from campus especially when you can sit outside on the terrace and look out on a beautiful flower garden with a fountain. The inside, with its thick rug and brown-orange colors, transports you to another time. So while Tambers on St. Paul Street may offer a convenient spot for some Indian comfort food, Ambassador boasts a more upscale environment, which is just a short walk from campus where you can escape from Baltimore with a brunch that will leave you happily sated for the entire day.