Friday, March 02, 2012

Sutra Modern Indian


I celebrated leap day by enjoying a 3-course Indian fusion dinner at Sutra. The meter parking right in front of the entrance is actually not that expensive ($2/48 minutes) considering it's in the downtown core. I knew from the moment I stepped in that Sutra was not your typical Indian restaurant. There was the unmistakable aroma of Indian cooking wafting out of the kitchen, but the scent didn't cling to my clothes and hair as it usually does. The decor was modern and trendy with comfortable booth seats. The dim lighting and candlelight contributed to the fine dining atmosphere, so this place would be perfect for a romantic date.


I ordered my usual drink, a thick and creamy mango lassi ($4). In fact, it was a bit too thick and creamy at first. That wasn't a big problem though, as half the glass was filled with ice. I loved the taste, but the price didn't quite match up with the portion.


The appetizer was ground beef samosas ($8) served with a sweet and sour sauce. The flaky pastries came piping hot with a sprinkle of chili powder and salt. Normally I'm not that crazy about samosas, but these were delicious. The pastry was dense and flaky with just a bit of chewiness, and the minced meat filling was savoury but not too salty.


Butter chicken ($17) is my must-order dish at any Indian restaurant, but Sutra's version was quite different. Even though I had asked for mild, the spiciness was still rather prominent. The sauce was somewhat creamy, but it wasn't smooth and it was even a bit clumpy. I enjoyed the light and fluffy rice though. The entrees usually don't come with naan; we got it as part of our deal voucher. The regular price for naan is $3 for 2 pieces.


I was surprised that I enjoyed the pork masala ($16) more than the butter chicken. The pork itself wasn't tender enough, but the sweet-tart apple chutney was the highlight of the dish. The fruity and refreshing condiment went well with the heavy sauce and meat.


Chocolate samosas ($6) rounded out the meal. I really had doubts about this fusion dessert. The combination was certainly innovative: dark and white chocolate and cream cheese. For some reason, I had imagined a marble swirl of black and white chocolate with solid chunks of cream cheese. But the filling was actually a smooth blend of all the ingredients. I loved how the savoury cheese was barely detectable, yet balanced out the sweetness of the chocolate perfectly. The pastry was just a bit overcooked though, so it was very crispy to the point that it was slightly hard. In any case, the filling more than made up for it!


The one thing that really distinguished Sutra from traditional run-of-the-mill Indian restaurants was the attentive service. Our water glasses were replaced before they were emptied. Yes replaced with new cups and fresh lemon slices, and not just refilled with hot water. Perhaps that wasn't very environmentally friendly, but it was good service regardless. And at the end of the meal, we even got a $10 off coupon for our next visit!

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