I was so impressed with my meal at Taste of Punjab that I was revving to do a return visit the very next week. Motoring down 96th, I was well on my way when I noticed another new restaurant... Yah, I got food ADD. Can't help it. So much so, I almost got whiplash from my sudden head jerk towards the right. Where the old Jim's Hideaway used to occupy, stands a new Indian restaurant. Okay, I know, I know. Much like Richmond needs another Chinese restaurant, we find another Indian restaurant in Surrey. Okay, before you lose interest and stop reading, stay with me here. I do concede that another post about an Indian restaurant in Surrey might sound repetitive; but there is the possibility of finding a gem. The new restaurant is Northern Tadka. Located in the same plaza as Mr. Pickwick's and Chicken World, it still hasn't completely rid itself of Jim's Hideaway. In fact, the entrance is still splattered with "Jim's" on the frosted glass.
If you are wondering why the place is called "Northern" Tadka, it is because the food served here is Northern Indian. Specifically from the Punjab region. Much like other ethnic cuisine, there are many regional cuisines that we aren't familiar with since it is easier to group it all into an "Indian", "Chinese", "Italian" and so on "restaurant". Fortunately for most, Northern Indian cuisine is the most prevalent in the GVRD. You know, the Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken and Aloo Golbi type stuff. Seeing how I can only eat so much (I do have my limits you know), I decided to visit this place 3 times before I wrote about it. For the first visit, I went for one of my favs being the Lamb Vindaloo. I am daring to put myself out there by saying that this was one of the best vindaloos I've had recently. The first thing that struck me was the heat. This was no wussy version. There was a kick of spice that made itself known and lingered for a bit. However, it did not overwhelm the rest of the flavours. Unlike some vindaloos, I could actually pick out some individual spices taste wise and visually. Of course, there was the signature tartness from the vinegar. The only thing that could've been better was the lamb itself, it was slightly tough. Included with the lunch combo was 2 pieces of Tandoori Chicken. It was aesthetically-pleasing with the usual red colour and nice charring. One thing I can't stand is dry tandoori chicken and I have to say that this was far from that. The exterior was flavourful and smoky while the chicken meat inside was actually tender. This was well-executed.
On my second visit, I went for the classic in the Butter Chicken. Arriving steaming hot and pleasing to the eye, I dunked the accompanying Naan into the sauce. I thought the sauce was well-balanced being creamy while not overly so. There was an obvious tomato component that did not intrude on the rest of the flavours. As for the naan, it was soft and warm with a nicely charred exterior. And for a third visit, I went for the Lamb Korma. Very much like the vindaloo, the sauce was slightly chunky. There was discernible pieces of cashews and what looked like paneer. However, to the best of my knowledge, there is no paneer in korma. So was it clumps of yogurt? Whatever the case, the "chunkiness" of the korma did not compromise the flavour. In fact, I found the entire dish to be well-balanced with nice hits of cream, nuttiness and a hint of spice. Personally, I would've liked it spicier; but that could be easily rectified by requesting it when ordering. The standard dessert for all of the lunch specials is Galub Jamun aka as the sugary sweet ball of death. For me, I'm not a huge fan of this since the sweetness level borders on instant diabetes. So not much to say about it. Otherwise, the many items I have tried on 3 separate visits have confirmed to me that Northern Tadka has some pretty solid eats. Prices are reasonable and the people are very friendly.
- Solid eats
- Pretty good service
- Restaurant is pretty large, not sure if the wait staff can do adequate coverage when busy