Having enjoyed the Verace Amore package at Verace Pizzeria, I got ready for yet another VANEATS dining adventure at Palki Indian Restaurant. The restaurant is located on Commercial Drive near Venables, so it's a bit of a drive for a Richmondite like me.
I was really surprised at how clean and modern the interior was. The decor was quite trendy and the tableware was sparkly clean. (Our plates were still hot from the dishwasher!) The place was filled with the typical aroma of Indian cooking, but I was glad the smell didn't cling to my hair or clothes.
I always order mango lassi whenever I eat Indian, so I considered breaking out of my usual routine because I was getting a little bored. But I'm so glad I didn't! This mango lassi ($3) was very special indeed. Apart from creamy yogurt and tropical mango, there was a magic ingredient: ground cardamom with its signature fragrance. The yogurt was actually slightly salty, so it was a delicious blend of flavours.
The $14 dining pass includes 7 items. The first 5 items came together on a sizzling hot plate. We started with the vegetable samosa on the right. It was a giant samosa stuffed with spiced potatoes and veggies. The pastry was rather crusty and bland, kind of like the Chinese fried wonton. There were 2 types of chicken served on grilled green pepper. The red coloured chicken tikka was a bit dry and maybe even a bit hard, but the murg malai tikka was very soft and tender like Chinese white cut chicken. (Sorry for all the Chinese food comparison, but that's the type of cuisine I'm most familiar with.) The lamb barrah kebob consisted of 2 ribs and the meat was very tender and juicy with a strong garlic flavour. The tandoori prawn was marinated just like the rest of the meat, but I didn't find the flavour very strong because prawn just doesn't absorb flavours as well.
The onion and cilantro naan came as a bit of a disappointment, but not because it tasted bad. It was just different from what I had expected. I was hoping for a soft and fluffy flatbread, but the texture was more like pizza bread — chewy and difficult to pull apart. I loved the topping of carrot and cilantro bits though.
The butter chicken was heated over a tealight to keep it warm. It was very creamy and the yogurt almost reminded me of gooey melted cheese. The meat, similar to the chicken tikka, seemed a bit stringy and dry like braised meat. I think that's the way it's supposed to be, but I'm not really into the braised texture.
We got an order of rice pulao ($3) on top of the dining pass to go with the butter chicken. I can't eat my butter chicken without rice :) It was a pretty big portion for the price and the rice was very good quality.
All in all, the meal was very good value for $14. So thank you VANEATS, I'm waiting for your next dining pass.