Namaste Cafe has arrived on the Disney Food Truck scene in Disney World’s Downtown Disney!
I know AJ’s been looking forward to this one because we were told it would have Butter Chicken — her favorite! Let’s take a look!
Namaste Cafe features “Tasty Explorations from Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” but before I placed my order, I just had to take some time to admire the artwork on this eye-catching truck.
I love how it so beautifully echoes the imagineering you see in Animal Kingdom, particularly in the Asia area. Just take a look…
Even the tiger habitat from the Maharajah Jungle Trek is represented beside the pickup window (or at least it looks that way to me!).
But now that we’ve seen the facade, let’s check out what’s inside!
Namaste Cafe dishes include Slow-cooked Beef Short Ribs, Tandoori Shrimp, and Butter Chicken (woo!).
I was tempted by the Short Ribs, but I’d been looking forward to the Butter Chicken for so long that I decided not to deviate from the plan :)!
There aren’t many places to dine here at the food truck area, but there are three tables set up for standing!
You might notice Disney Quest in the background — that’s because the trucks were back in their original home on the West Side between Cirque de Soleil and House of Blues. During the day, this is a pretty quiet corner, but things really pick up in the evenings prior to shows at each neighboring venue.
Superstar Catering, however, has also been spotted closer to Pleasure Island at the open area next to Bongos Cuban Cafe. So, if you’re on the hunt for the trucks, please know that they relocate themselves occasionally… what with being trucks and all ;). No matter where they are placed, from what I can tell, they seem to be sticking to the originally anticipated schedule of Wednesdays through Sundays.
Okay, enough with the logistics! Back to the food!
The Butter Chicken is served on a bed of basmati rice over naan bread, and topped with vegetables.
The first thing I noticed was that the chicken was not covered in the same amounts of yummy gravy I typically associate with Butter Chicken (or at least the Butter Chicken I’ve enjoyed so much at Sanaa). While that makes sense when I consider how it’s served (it would make for a really messy dish for something that’s meant to be portable), it took a little getting used to.
However, once I dug in, I was able to better appreciate this version of the dish for what it was. The chicken was flavorful and so tender that it practically fell apart on my fork, and the white basmati rice was prepared just right.
I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of spice in this dish. Even more, I was surprised by the source of the spice: while the chicken was well-flavored, the punch came primarily from the vegetables. The pickled cucumber, radish, golden beet, onion, and carrots really picked up the spices and delivered them beautifully!
I like some kick, so for me, this was great – in fact, it was my second favorite thing about the dish! But spice-adverse folks may find it a bit strong.
What was my favorite aspect? The fresh, grilled naan bread… buttery, soft, and practically the size of a baseball mitt!
Now if the truck could just serve a few of the accompaniments from Sanaa’s Bread Service, I’d seriously consider pitching my tent next to it ;).
Like my experience at the Superstar Catering Food Truck, I was really pleased with the flavor and quality of the food. This is just a guess, but I’m wondering if — due to the small size of the trucks — perhaps the food can be prepared only in very small batches, resulting in an unusually fresh entrée.
I also feel that the price point of the Butter Chicken is more on par with what I’d anticipated.
Before I sign off, I just have to note how awesome the Cast Members have been at each food truck – friendly, enthusiastic, and excited to be part of something so new.
Two down, two to go… we’re looking forward to the arrival of The World Showcase of Flavors and Enchanted Fare Food Trucks in the weeks to come!
Which item would you like to try from the Namaste Cafe Food Truck? Please let us know with a comment below!