I’ll have to be perfectly honest, despite being a long-time Surrey resident, I have had very little experience with South Asian food.
Unlike some folks out there, I can appreciate good food from a wide range of backgrounds, and this proved to be no different.
It wasn’t long ago that I thought double dating was lame and meant for old people…but here I am in my mid 20’s on a double date. On the plus side, because there were four of us, we were led to the “VIP area” in the back of the restaurant. They had a heavy-looking low-rise table, comfy sofas with lots of pillows, and plants surrounding the area. I felt pampered.
I really appreciate restaurants that make dining a special experience. Sure good food is the most important thing, but when you show your customers that you want them to have a good time and an unique experience, they will thank you for it. (Joyce: This was a complimentary dinner so that could be why we were seated in that area. However, I’m sure you can request for it when you dine there.)
What went in
The menu is very extensive, but well explained. Each item has a description below, very helpful for newbies like myself.
We start with the Wings From Hell. I’m not sure how traditional that is, but the hot sauce was very tasty (it’s more than just sauce, you can taste chunks of the aromatics in the sauce). The chicken was well fried so it still had a little crisp to it. We were given a choice of 1 to 5 from mild to hot. We picked 4 and frankly were a little disappointed. We had hoped for hotter; this was Indian food after all!
Then we proceeded with what was likely too much food for four people. We had a few orders of Tandoori Naan, Roti, Garlic Naan, and some rice. On top of that we ordered a Lamb Pasnda, Butter Chicken, Prawn Goan Curry, and Baigan Bhartha.
There’s nothing quite like fresh Naan; the garlic one won our hearts. The Roti tastes considerable healthier, and it is, made with whole wheat flour and water.
I think all curries should be served like this, bubbling slightly on a heated dish. In addition to the great presentation, it kept the dishes hot throughout the duration of the meal.
Alright let’s break down the dishes.
This is the one I picked out of the menu. It’s a lamb curry marinated in a yogurt based sauce. The lamb was tender and pretty moist, especially considering the method of cooking. The sauce was not quite what I had imagined when I read “yogurt based”. It was thick and heavily seasoned, but not overly salty. There are flavours that I tasted in this dish that to this day I can’t begin to describe. This is what I love about trying out something new. It’s more than just a new restaurant, but a new experience altogether.
I suppose this is the equivalent of sweet and sour pork in Chinese food. Not in terms of taste or texture, but as the stereotypical ethnic dish in the West (Joyce: translate: a must-order dish). The sauce is amazing. It’s creamy, rich, sweet, with a blast of tomatoes. The chicken on the other hand is less impressive. The breast meat is cut into huge chunks, so there was much less flavour in the meat and was a bit dry. This isn’t necessarily a bad dish, but it could’ve easily been better.
Prawn Goan Curry:
Cooked in a combination of coriander and coconut curry, this turned out to be the spiciest dish out of the four. The prawns were juicy and very fresh. Coriander, for those of you who don’t know, is also known as cilantro. I’m not typically a huge fan of cilantro, but in this case it doesn’t come through very strongly. The spiciness was rather over powering, definitely not a dish for the faint of heart. (Joyce: This is a dish that many rave about on Urbanspoon. I have to agree with them that it’s a pretty good dish. Spicy, though.)
This is a vegetarian curry made with eggplant, onions, and tomatoes. Arrived on the table with a thick and chunky texture, it didn’t look too appetizing. I like eggplant, onions and tomatoes, but the texture and taste didn’t do it for me. It’s the typical mushiness in vegetarian curries but this was the one dish I didn’t appreciate very well.
What came out
Each curry dish is about $12. The naan bread and roti are only dollars each. The wings are typical wings prices. Everything is priced right for Vancouver. The crazy part was the beer. A pint of beer was $3.25, and that’s not even a special price! Who would’ve thought this would be a great place to grab a few drinks after work? (Joyce: I had the mango lassi, and it was one of the best ones I’ve had to-date. Smooth with more of a mango taste than yogurt flavour.)
No complaints here. We did get some special treatment (because let’s face it, I’m very special), but the other customers got the same warm and welcoming attitude that we did.
This was a great learning experience for me, and what I learned the most was that I don’t know nearly enough about South Asian cuisine. I simply can’t comprehend some of the intricate spices and the flavours they brought on. I guess I’ll just have eat more of it…such a chore.
With that said, Palki Restaurant was a helluva experience for the inexperienced. Go give it a try.
(Max Score: 10; Base Score: 5)
What went in (+/-2, 0) = 1
What came out (+/-1, 0) = 0
Service (+/-1, 0) = 1
Mr.’s Bonus (+/-1) = 1
Total Score – 8/10
1130 Commercial Drive