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.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider show_divider=”off” disabled_on=”on|on|off” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.23.4″ height=”2px” hide_on_mobile=”on”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider show_divider=”off” disabled_on=”on|on|off” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.23.4″ height=”2px” hide_on_mobile=”on”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider show_divider=”off” disabled_on=”on|on|off” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.23.4″ height=”2px” hide_on_mobile=”on”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider show_divider=”off” disabled_on=”on|on|off” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.23.4″ height=”2px” hide_on_mobile=”on”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.0.6″][et_pb_column _builder_version=”4.0.6″ type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.0.6″ hover_enabled=”0″]
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.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
Here’s the best bubble tea in Surrey
Whether you call it bubble tea or boba, everyone loves the sweet drink with those irresistible tapioca pearls. If you live in Surrey, then you’re in luck! Surrey has so many different bubble tea options. So here’s our list of the best bubble tea in Surrey.
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Boba Boy has all of your classic bubble tea options. Whether you like milk tea, fruit tea, or smoothies, Boba Boy has got you covered. We’d recommend trying the Dalgona coffee with oat milk and grass jelly. They also have some yummy dessert options like their mini donuts covered with cinnamon sugar.
Address: 15127 56 Ave Unit 104, Surrey
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Leaf Tea Lounge is a hip bubble tea spot with a super aesthetic interior. This is the perfect place to snap your next Instagram pic while enjoying some delicious bubble tea. If you’re feeling like some food with your bubble tea, they also serve unique varieties of fries. We enjoy the Tokyo fries which are covered in matcha with Japanese mayo, sesame seeds, and seaweed.
Address: 1618 152 St, Surrey
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What we love about Presotea is their Milk Tea Triple Combo. It comes with pearls, grass jelly, and pudding. So if you’re a fan of bubble tea toppings (or if you can’t decide which one to order), visit Presotea.
Address: 10355 152 St #1046, Surrey
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Sure, Bubble World has some great bubble tea options like their milky mango ice cream slush or their taro oreo slush, but that’s not all. Bubble world also serves delicious food. If you’re looking for somewhere with great drinks and food, Bubble World is the place. We love the baked fried rice with fish cutlet and white sauce.
Address: 10090 152 St #137, Surrey
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Gong Cha makes our list for the best bubble tea in Surrey because of how many different drinks they serve. We enjoy their honey rose Tie Guan Yin tea latte and Oreo milk foam earl grey tea.
Address: 10294 City Pkwy Unit 104, Surrey
Surrey just got a new Australian brunch spot
Ruex Cafe & Bar just opened in Surrey and it is every brunch lover’s dream come true. With amazing decor inside, tasty brunch, and delicious drinks, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go visit.
Ruex Cafe & Bar has been in the works for a few years and is inspired by “Melbourne brunch culture.” From the food to the decor, everything is inspired by Australian brunch. From what we can tell, Australia definitely knows how to do brunch.
The menu consists of some unique twists on brunch classics like the biscoff french toast which is “cornﬂake crusted brioche french toast stuﬀed with warm biscoﬀ and served with cinnamon mascarpone and brulée bananas.”
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Another notable mention is the udon carbonara which comes with pecorino romano, Grana Padano, spinach and poached egg. We’ve never seen carbonara on a brunch menu before, but it just makes so much sense.
But don’t worry if you’re not a morning person because Ruex Cafe & Bar is open from 9 am till 11 pm and serves great evening bites and drinks. We’d recommend trying the fried chicken sliders that come with cabbage, tomato jam, and spicy mayo on a charcoal bun. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, the halloumi tostadas are also a great option. They’re served with crispy corn tortilla, slow-cooked zucchini and eggplant, tempura halloumi, avocado, and pico de gallo.
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So if you’re wanting to take to Australia without spending the money to fly there, why not check out Ruex Cafe & Bar. Whether it be for Sunday brunch or evening drinks, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Address: Unit 120 13615 Fraser Highway, Surrey
5 Restaurants and a New Year in Surrey!
Another new year approaches: Surrey 2022 here we go! But with the new Covid restrictions, where are you going to enjoy this Friday night, whether you intend to celebrate New Years Eve or just celebrate because it’s Friday?
We have a list, albeit a short one, of restaurants that are open on New Year’s Eve.
Open until midnight. Reservations are recommended but not a must. This Surrey restaurant is well known for their Canadian dishes, complemented by an exciting list of cocktails, BC wines, and local craft beer, in an open concept restaurant with high top tables and chairs. Bones: they will be offering an all day happy hour on Friday.
Open until 2am. The Clayton is a unique choice. Although there will not be a party they do have a DJ, along with classic tasty Canadian dishes and appetizers, plus 3 incredible fire tables available in their fully covered & heated patio spaces. Also, they have a ton of drink specials, just in case you might be drinking responsibly during your visit.
Open until 10pm. Featuring a $60 New Year’s Eve menu, The Cabin is a solid choice for a Pacific Northwest experience featuring seafood, “AAA” steaks, gourmet pasta, local craft beers, and a healthy selection of wine. It should be noted, as of right now, 7:30pm onwards is fully booked, however we’ve been told there might be some cancellations. You can and should put your name on the waitlist.
Open until 10pm. Featuring traditional Afghan cuisine. If you live in Surrey, you know this place is amazing. If you don’t, that’s ok, just watch this episode about them on CBC Vancouver’s YouTube. Mom’s cooking never tasted better. Now, perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “Nothing special here, where’s the party!?” however, since many restaurants are closing early this year, and especially living in one of the most diverse cities in BC, what better way to enjoy your end of year than with a local culinary “staycation” at one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants!
With that said, last but not least by any means:
Open until 1130pm. Serving a delicious blend of Nepalese, Indo-Chinese, and Western Cuisine. Like we said, while in Surrey, try something new. Allow your tastebuds to create a mini celebration for you, safely at your table.
Have we helped? We certainly hope so!
No matter how you plan to enjoy this Friday December 31, stay safe, stay warm and we wish, as always, the very best for you and your family.
See you next year!
Desire Kokuvi Amouzou
3 Must Have Winter Treats for Surrey!
Some might say, there is nothing better in the world than being outdoors enjoying freshly poured maple syrup snow candy coupled with that crisp smell of winter in the air, and a log cabin surrounded in a forest of snow and maple trees. Definitely some might say this, if they lived in Montreal.
But for us, living on the West Coast known for our rain and most recently our atmospheric rivers, this is likely the last thing on our minds.
Rest assured though, Surrey has memories to be made with the treats we share during the winter.
Here are just 3 treats of many!
First on the list, one that makes a healthy appearance starting around September in particular and might be difficult to find through the month of December but is worth the hunt:
These cookies are very often a hit during the winter months, especially but not exclusively in our Filipino community.
Why are they called crinkle cookies? Well, because they’re crinkly of course! But more accurately because of their slightly hard-covered exterior, which is cracked through the baking process then covered in a tasty icing sugar. The moist tasty brownie style interior is revealed in the cracks of the cookies creating a winter wonderland map. Popular flavours are chocolate, ube and red velvet. The chocolate is Christa Jance’s favourite, co-owner and crinkle cookie baker for the local Surrey business Craving For Crave. Check for them online in January, they go quick!
Second on the list, but equally as tasty and doesn’t need much introduction:
This is an Italian type of sweet bread, said to have originated from Milan, and possibly having roots to the Roman Empire, made for emperors, a bread sweetened with honey. Panettone is also very common throughout South America and hence throughout Surrey you are likely to find it at many winter gatherings. Very often given and received as gifts, and it’s no surprise as these delectables are often packed into stunning decorative, branded packages.
Flavoured with lemon zest, orange zest and candied fruit and raisins, Panettone can be found at either your local London Drugs, Costco or, if you want to try a rich variety, some flavoured with different types of liquor and beautifully handmade from Italy, then you must visit Romolo and his Mother Penny, owners of Delitalia Fine Foods. Let Romolo talk you through all of the varieties!
Toast it, butter it, and enjoy it with a hot beverage of your choice!
Now, last but not least, and not as widely known as you might think, but absolutely respected and loved throughout Surrey:
Originating in India and declared the national dessert of Pakistan, by the Government of Pakistan, this milk-solid-based sweet derives its name from the Persian words gol, meaning flower, and ãb meaning water, referring to the rose water-syrup it sits in (flavoured also with Saffron or Kewra and Green Cardamom).
Jamun is the Hindi word for an Indian fruit similar in shape and size to gulab jamun, known to most as a black plum.
Note, gulab, or the sugar syrup this fried tasty ball of beautiful dough is lovingly soaked in, for some recipes, can also be replaced with slightly diluted maple syrup. Full circle!
It’s amazing served hot during cold weather, the dough melting in your mouth, and even better if it’s complemented with some ice cream.
So where can you get this amazing treat you ask?
Pretty much anywhere in Surrey, BC. In fact we might have to save space for an article on the various places you can secure some. But for now, do yourself a favour and get out to the Payal Business Centre, a home to so many sweet shops with a rich assortment of Gulab Jamun. It’s not the only location by any means, but it’s a good start. One amazing spot in the centre well known in our community has to be Maharaja Sweets & Restaurant. Really, you need to go if you haven’t already!
You can purchase it packaged, but it truly is best enjoyed freshly made.
In the end, whatever treat you grace your home with, perhaps all of them, we hope you are able to share them with the ones you love!
Desiré Kokuvi Amouzou,
The five best restaurants and bars in Central Surrey
If you thought you had to make the trek to Downtown Vancouver just to eat well, think again. There are pockets of great places to eat right here in Surrey’s City Centre. Check out this list of five of the best restaurants and bars to get your fill of good eats in Central Surrey.
Central City Taphouse & Kitchen
The Central City Taphouse is a staple, and one that truly caters to everyone. It lands consistently at the top of any Surrey eatery list and offers everything from brunch to pub-style food and drinks, including happy (or “tappy”) hour specials. Enjoy a warm meal with family or watch the game with friends. The large patio, beautiful courtyard, and excellent food are destined to provide you with the perfect ambiance.
Address: 13450 102 Ave., Unit 190
Dominion Bar & Kitchen
For those looking for a truly “downtown” experience, this place is the top choice. From bunch, lunch, dinner, and late night mixers, Dominion Bar has a modern vibe and locally sourced ingredients that shine both in menu and drinks. Trendy, socially on-point, and providing a timeless dining experience with a mix of influences, this place is a must when you’re planning your night out.
Address: 13475 Central Ave., Unit D1
For the last decade, Bubble 88 has been able to provide a trendy yet authentic flair of Taiwanese cuisine to Surrey. Easily one of the best bistros in the area, the chefs make each dish with passion and the presentation makes it just as beautiful as it is delicious. Of course, as you may have guessed by the name, bubble tea is also available.
Address: #102-10209 King George Blvd.
Neptune Seafood Restaurant
Although it is not unique to Surrey, the quality and fine dining provided at this Asian restaurant cannot go without being mentioned. With the best dim sum and arguably the best Chinese cuisine within Surrey, a large dining space, and the ability to host events, Neptune Seafood is worth adding to your foodie bucket list. Neptune has won several awards for their restaurant group, and of course for their dim sum as well.
Address: 1130-10153 King George Blvd.
Perhaps considered a hidden gem to some, Sumerian Grill is often highly rated amongst those that have visited the restaurant. Providing Middle Eastern cuisine, the meals are rich in flavour and full of warmth. The menu offers the best in Surrey for Iraqi and Turkish dishes and wraps with colours of the Mediterranean.
Address: 10671A King George Blvd.
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