by Carole Verona
Visit Aman’s Authentic Indian Cuisine on any Sunday afternoon, and you’ll find several generations of Indian families enjoying the buffet. From grandparents to toddlers, many dressed in traditional attire, they are all enjoying the delicious food prepared by Devinder Singh and two other chefs. To me, this is a sign that Aman’s is a very good Indian restaurant, although Singh insists the food is for everyone, Indians and non-Indians alike.
Located at 2680 Dekalb Pike in the NorthTowne Plaza at the intersection of DeKalb and Germantown pikes in Norristown, Aman’s serves North Indian Punjabi style cuisine. The most popular foods of the region are chicken tikka masala (chicken in a tomato, onion and cream-based gravy); chicken, lamb and fish or shrimp korma (cooked in an almond and cashew-based gravy), malai kofta (vegetable dumplings in a mild sauce) or daal makhni (black lentils sautéed with onions, ginger and garlic). The restaurant also serves South Indian dishes on the weekend.
When asked about specialties on the menu, Singh (who says everyone calls him “Dave”), said, “Whatever the guests want to eat is a specialty.”
On the buffet, there are six vegetarian and eight meat entrees to choose from. Soup, masala tea and mango lassis are included, along with an assortment of condiments and desserts. Aman’s has also added a dinner buffet on Wednesday nights. The lunch buffet is served on Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and costs $10, except for Fridays when the cost is $12. Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. is $12, and the dinner buffet on Wednesday evenings is $14. A banquet facility next door to the restaurant seats 80.
Aman’s a la carte dinner menu includes a wide assortment of Indian foods and beverages, ranging from appetizers, soups and salads to meat, seafood and vegetarian entrees, Indo-Chinese dishes, breads and desserts. The most expensive entrée on the menu is Aman’s Special Grill, a combo of baked chicken, jumbo shrimp, lamb and fish, all for $20.95.
Born in Jalandhar, Singh served as a clerk in the Indian Army. “I never had a kitchen job. I never even made a cup of tea in India,” he said. All of that changed when he came to the U.S. and started working in a restaurant. He has been in the restaurant business ever since. “I made up my mind that one day I would open my own business in the U.S.,” he said, “but I had to return to India due to immigration problems.” When he came back, he settled in Canada and became a Canadian citizen. Singh moved to Southeastern Pennsylvania in 1999 when he purchased the Palace of Asia restaurant in Fort Washington. He sold that business in 2006 and opened Sultan Indian Cuisine in North Wales in 2007, which he owned until 2011. In 2012, he purchased Aman’s.
Catering on a large scale is integral to the services provided by Aman’s. During last year’s Diwali Festival, Aman’s catered for 1,200 people in one day. Aman’s often caters weddings attended by 400 to 500 people. “People rent a large space in a school or another big building. We cook here and then deliver the food to them. That’s our business and we work hard to maintain our reputation of being good.”
At 67, Singh has no intention of retiring. “My wife is all the time upset with me. She says, ‘You are not married to me; you are married to the business!’ But if I’m not here, then the food quality goes down. Something goes wrong all the time. In business, the owner’s presence is very important. I don’t like to leave the restaurant, believe it or not, I love my restaurant so much. I used to do this for money, but now it’s my hobby. I like to sit with my customers, talk with them and keep them happy.”
Singh and his wife, Usha Taheem, live in Oreland. They have three daughters — Mina, Reenu and Mandeep — and a son, Aman.
More information at amansauthentic.com or 610-277-5565.