Warm, familiar, elegant. These words are precisely what one would not think of when approaching the rather bland exterior of the local Indian lunch and dinner buffet restaurant, India Oven.
Situated at the end of a small shopping plaza on Scottsville Road, India Oven all too easily blends in with the laundromats and cheap Chinese takeout restaurants in the surrounding area. Quite frankly, to anyone passing by it doesn’t look too special. However, visitors are greeted with an entirely different world upon entering.
The first sight that catches the eye from the inside is the richly colorful, hand-painted mural of the Taj Mahal that sprawls across one wall, and then soon after, the unexpectedly upscale atmosphere of the restaurant beyond. Though its main selling point is its buffet, India Oven still allows customers to dine in relative style with swanky red carpets, small chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, white tablecloths and waiters in dress shirts and bow ties. The service, as well, is a cut above—fast and efficient, yet incredibly polite and friendly.
Still, the eatery was not so fancy as to make an everyday college student such as I feel out of place. There were families and groups of friends all simply enjoying the food and atmosphere together. India Oven stood out to me as a restaurant that is open and enjoyable to all types of people, not just along demographic lines but even along lines of culinary taste.
The strongest impression I took away from eating here was that it is approachable to people who are not incredibly familiar with Indian cuisine or who actively avoid it because they dislike spicy foods. I am, admittedly, one of these people myself, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that while there is the option of ordering more spicy dishes from the menu at dinner, the food available at the buffet is mild in heat while still having lots of delicious flavor.
Campbellsville senior Jeremy McFarland said India Oven is, without a doubt, one of his favorite restaurants in Bowling Green. In fact, for a span of about two months last semester, he visited the eatery “at least once a week.” McFarland said that he always eats at the buffet and his favorite dishes are the cabbage masala and chicken tikka masala which pair up well with another of his favorites: the classic naan.
“And they have the best dessert in town,” he said.
Specifically, McFarland said he can’t get enough of the gulab jamun: an incredibly sweet, doughy ball.
In terms of price, I would rank India Oven as fair. The buffet is $10 on weekdays and $11 on weekends, which was not a steal for me as a light eater. However, I can imagine that, for someone with a larger appetite, getting such a quantity of high-quality Indian food is well worth the $10.
McFarland said the meal he eats at India Oven is sometimes all he needs to eat for the day because he finds the food so satisfying and filling. He feels that it’s a bargain, especially considering how much he enjoys the atmosphere and the opportunity to talk to friendly staff.
“The food is affordable; there is a wide variety of different food, and the staff is super nice,” he said. “Whenever I come in, it makes me so happy.”