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Swad Indian kitchen: Your journey to the heart of India begins here

Swad Indian kitchen: Your journey to the heart of India begins here

New Delhi, the capital city of India, was the ruling seat of the Mogul or Mughal empire (Muslim dynasty of Turkic-Mongol origin) for centuries. Mughals were known for their refined tastes in food, language and architect. The modern day Delhi is still soaked in those royal tastes. In fact  most of the Indian dishes including Tandoori Kebabs or the famous butter chicken that have now risen to universal acclaim have their origins somewhere in the Mughal era.

Being born and brought up in this city, my palate too was used to the food, that leaves a long lasting refined taste of smooth curries blended with cashew nuts, butter, cream and Indian spices. For initial years after settling down in Vancouver, I used to crave for that aromatic food.

Who knew my search would end here in Swad Indian Kitchen. Located in the heart of West Vancouver, the restaurant claims to stand for its unique Indian menu which says: “Each dish tells the story of a beautiful place steeped in ancient cultures.”

Swad’s literal meaning is taste. True to its name and claim, the restaurant is indeed dishing out recipes from all across India (not limiting itself to North western region of Punjab) giving them an innovative twist with the unique Mughal taste. In one single trip to this restaurant you can travel to the heart of Delhi with its specialities like Dal Maharani or Butter Chicken, extreme North with Kashmiri Korma or Rogan Josh, Southern India with its special chicken Chettinad or try tastes of Goa and Mumbai with Mumbai Machali or prawn curry made with coconut milk.

But one can ask how would all those essential sharp Indian tastes suite a Canadian palate trained for mild foods. “They do,” says the confident owner of the restaurant, Kamal Mroke. “I told my chefs to cut back on butter and salt to customize the dishes for Canadians.” Mroke says his aim is to serve fresh and healthy menu with love.

We were greeted by Mroke and the very friendly staff who took pride in what they were serving. First came the appetizers Cauliflower 65 and Paneer Taka Tak. The first on the table — Cauliflower 65 (small florets marinated with honey and chilli) takes its cue from a very famous South Indian appetizer Chicken 65. Being a vegetarian myself, I used to feel secluded in friends gatherings when they boasted of eating Chicken 65, but after eating its vegetarian version at Swad, I feel part of the gang.

The main course too was full of fresh vegetables cooked in cashew nut curry accompanied by soft and flaky breads. Guiding us through to our journey was the very hospitable staff and Mroke himself who did not let us leave without tasting their dessert Mango pistachio ice cream. “I can guarantee, you will never find this unique dessert all over Canada. I invented it myself,” he said. Mroke, himself is a trained seasoned chef and an experience restaurateur.

Mroke has been in the restaurant business for over 25 years. He arrived in Vancouver from his native Punjab in the early 80s plunged himself into the restaurant business as a bus boy and dishwasher while going to school to become a chef. His first business was a cafe in a North Vancouver motel in 1986 after which he operated restaurants in Calgary and Seattle which were frequented by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen. In the Lower Mainland, Mroke had Handi in North Vancouver, Dawat in East Vancouver, Copper Chimney in Downtown Vancouver before opening India Bistro on Davie street.

In 2015, Mroke decided to open Swad. The restaurant may be very young in age in an old established street of West Vancouver that boasts of many other old eating joints, it is not unknown and not struggling to establish its identity. Swad has already earned its credits amongst the locals of West Vancouver who love to come and spend their evenings in a cozy elegant ambiance. “People just do not come here to eat and leave. They come here to relax. They have their drinks then order a full three course meal,” Mroke says.

Suzanne a resident of West Vancouver, who was visiting with her husband was hosting her parents visiting from Nanaimo. She is no stranger to this place. “Me and my husband discovered this place quite late. But when we discovered it, we came here thrice in that week,” she said. She loves the cozy interiors and of course the food.

The Palak Kofta (dumplings, deep-fried, with layers of spinach, Indian style cheese and gram), Mooghdum Kebab (bone in chicken thigh marinated in yogurt and cashew nut sauce), Mango chicken (chicken coated in mango sauce) are some of the favourites of this couple. In fact all the dishes she listed are top selling menu items of this place.

All the dishes on the menu have unique names just like their unique tastes.

The inviting and elegant decor of Swad provides experience of traveling through the rich flavours of India.

Experience a truly unique culinary experience with traditional and fusion infused creations that will guarantee your return visits.

Mix Vegetables Rich in Flavour

Delicacies Cauliflower

With over 35 years of experience restaurant owner Kamal Mroke promises to give extraordinary authentic high end delicacies and specialties

Swad INDIAN Kitchen | 1734 Marine Drive | West Vancouver, 604-281-4411 | swadindiankitchen.caOpen daily for lunch and dinner.

About The Author

Surbhi Gogia

Surbhi Gogia is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in media. Prior to moving to Canada, Surbhi worked with Indian media with specialization on child and education related issues. Currently she resides in Surrey with her family and enjoys exploring various cultural aspects of this beautiful country.

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