I have started going back to the gym, opting for a location closer to work. A gym in Surrey, heading down once a week. This has given my gym buddy and myself the opportunity to explore more of that city. I questioned a few of my coworkers, looking for a good spot for Indian food. Spice 72 came highly recommended, with subsequent responses agreeing to the referral.
It wasn’t close to the gym, but having the glowing review warranted giving them a chance. My expectations came as high as my hunger, when we walked in famished after a 2 hour weight focused workout.
The decor and restaurant/lounge set up reminded me of an Earls or Cactus Club, a nice spot to post up and claim a cocktail. Already this wasn’t the hole in the wall, mom and pop comfort cooking kitchen, as I was initially expecting. But we made the 20 minute trip down and was hinging on hangry.
I was recommended a handful of vegetarian appetizers from my coworkers, so chose the most interesting of the 5, and followed it up with two meatier entrees.
Golgappe was described as round, hollow puri filled with a mixture of flavored water and potatoes on the menu. Little puffs served with two vials. It was delivered with no instruction or explanation so we put two and two together. Pouring liquid awkwardly into the open hold of the round puff. Later I was told that I should have dipped each ball into urn or spoon out the water instead. You are also given so much liquid so we didn’t know how much to fill and with which one for which flavour. Later, when the server came to check in, we learned that the green was a mint based water; and the orange one: a tamarind. The result was an interesting one bite, juicy canapé, better with the tamarind than the mint, interesting with the two mixed together. This definitely served as a unique starter, refreshing to help rev up the appetite and balance out the heavier meal to follow.
I was craving for, so indulged in the basic Butter Chicken. A smaller serving of boneless chicken tikka cooked with a rich tomato cream sauce. The flavour was there, plenty of sauce to sop up with the naan and roti we ordered to accompany it with. It was just a shame that the chicken breast within was dry. Shame that I could tell this was made before hand and reheated to order. I originally ordered a second serving to go, only to negate it after trying and being disappointed by this.
When it came to the bread, I prefer the fluffier and chewier naan over the thinner and slightly crispy roti. The Garlic Naan is garnished with fresh garlic and herbs, and Tandoori Roti is leavened wheat bread baked in the tandoor oven. I was also happy to have ordered a serving of basmati rice that came with peas. Such carbohydrate based sides are ideal for fully enjoying all the sauces above and in the curry below.
The Goat/Lamb Curry was suggested by our server. The goat came a lot more tender than the chicken above. It appeared to be slower cooked and came served almost pulled, which definitely helped the texture. It was prepared in fragrant onion and authentic spices. This was a warmer curry with heated spices, but not spicy. It had a similar flavour profile to the butter chicken, but without the sweetness.
When asked by our server, we also indulged in some drinks. I questioned the authenticity of the “Indian Coffee”, trying to ask our server if the coffee beans used were any different than ones you get here in Canada. She was unable to confirm, so we ordered it anyways, only to try and learn it was just a medium roast coffee with milk and sugar.
Similarly the Masala Chai disappointed. It tasted similar to the coffee above, even served in the same tea pot and cup to match. Plus the colour was similar; as well as the taste as I barely got any chai spices.
Overall I was disappointed by my experience. I came in hungry and excited over the referral; however the restaurant didn’t deliver to the caliber I saw in the decor and marketing presence. The travel was out of the way for food I could have gotten similarly or even better, from a handful of restaurants that we passed by along the way. Not the worst, but I am still on the search for the best Indian restaurant in Surrey, but now focused on hole in the wall establishments.
Spice 72 Indian Restaurant & Lounge
12025 72 Ave, Surrey, BC V3W 2M1