Friends of ours live in Surrey and rave about Taste of Punjab, claiming it’s one of the best Indian restaurants in all of Surrey. Others think so too – it’s been cooking up a storm over 18 years. High praises, but we took their word for it, and dined at Taste of Punjab for dinner a while ago.
Right as we entered the restaurant, the employees were friendly and hospitable, almost as if we had just come over to visit and they were welcoming us into their lovely abode. They quickly sat us at a cozy booth and handed us large menus. When I say large, I mean huge: Their extensive menu lists over 102 items! I always wonder how restaurants with ginormous menus are able to produce fresh and tasty meals. It always reminds me of Kitchen Nightmares, where Chef Ramsay calls everyone donkeys and bellows “it’s RAAAAW!”. Thankfully the food coming out of Taste of Punjab’s kitchen was not a nightmare, and far from it .
We began our evening with a Mango Lassi – A popular and traditional Punjabi yogurt-based drink commonly found in India and Pakistan. Mango pulp is mixed with yoghurt with served in a large, cold and tall glass with a straw to slurp up the sweet and creamy goodness. Ground pistachio nuts were sprinkled on top to add a bit of crunch.
Complimentary papadum appetizer was served to us accompanied by condiments, such as a sweet dip of mint chutney. Papadum (sometimes spelled poppadom) is a thin, crisp Indian flat-cake preparation often described as a cracker. This crunchy bread was a lovely starter to jump-start our pallets. We ordered another appetizer of Vegetable Pakoras ($4.99) – Florets of assorted veggies fried in the restaurant’s special chick pea batter. A generous portion, and they were served pipping hot from the kitchen.
Items we consistently order at Indian restaurants are garlic naan and butter chicken. Incidentally, one of the best Indian food restaurants we’ve experienced is actually located in Seoul, South Korea (go figure, eh!).
Tandoori Chicken (half $8.49/whole $15.99) – Chicken marinated in traditional yogurt and spices, like red chili and turmeric, resulting in its quintessential vibrant red colour, and slight char from the oven. The light tandoori rub was savoury and mildly flavoured, and the chicken itself was quite dry, but still tasted delicious. The onions and green bell peppers that were sprinkled on top were raw. I would have preferred if the vegetables had been cooked because I’m not a huge fan of raw onions. Garlic Naan ($1.85) – Traditionally, tandoor oven baked flatbread, and we ordered ours seasoned with aromatic garlic. This was perfection: soft, slightly chewy, and just the right texture to utilize as a utensil to soak up sauces. Butter Chicken ($11.49) – Chicken breast pieces mixed in creamy tomato puree sauce with a variety of spices like cumin, cloves, coriander, and pepper. Definitely one of the better butter chicken dishes we’ve had in a long time.