Sherman's Food Adventures: Afghan Kitchen

Afghan Kitchen

The state of Afghan cuisine in the GVRD is pretty much limited to a few spots scattered here and there (mostly in the 'burbs though).  I've had fairly decent meals at Afghan Chopan and Afghan Bakery, but the most well-known of them all (also oldest in town), Afghan Horseman was a bit of a letdown.  More recently, my visit to Pamir Diner in Surrey yielded a surprisingly solid meal.  Recently, I finally made it out to South Surrey for the well-reviewed Afghan Kitchen to see if it could rival the aforementioned restaurants.

To get an idea of the menu, we went for the Triple Dip Taster consisting of Chilled Eggplant Essential Dip, Orange Hummus Re-imagined and Green Avocado Dream Dip served with Afghan Bread.  The best part of this was actually the fluffy bread.  Now this didn't mean that the dips weren't good.  In fact, they were tasty with the eggplant being delicate with little nuggets that provided texture.  As for the 2 types of hummus, I liked the orange more than the avocado since it had more impact.  Both were smooth and light though.  Somehow I missed the full description of the Happy Taster as it not only included batter-fried chicken bites, gold wedges and pakawras, there was also the very same dips as the aforementioned dish.  Oh well, we didn't mind more of it!  The kiddies really liked all the fried potato goodness on the plate.  On the other hand, the chicken nuggets were a little dry, albeit really crispy.

One of my favourite items was actually a very unassuming version of Bolani.  This usually consists of a flatbread stuffed with potato, herbs and spices.  I've had some that are stuffed far too much with green onion which completely dominates the flavour profile.  I was delighted to find that the filling in this one was fluffy potato with just the right complimentary amount of herbs (including green onion).  There was a balance of flavours to go with the delicate naan.  This was extra tasty when we used the side of hot sauce.  Equally delicious, the Mantu featured a thin translucent dumpling skin that sported appealing elasticity.  Inside, the minced beef and onion filling was loose and tender with a peppery finish.  These were topped with the usual tomato sauce and yogurt.  There was the earthiness of the cumin combined with the tang of the tomato which was eased by the cool yogurt.  Yummy.

The meat of the meal was exactly that as we ordered the Nights in Kabul consisting of 3 each of the chicken and beef kebab atop Afghan bread.  This was supposed to serve 4 people, but honestly, it could feed much more especially since it included sides (more on that later).  Back to the meat, it couldn't have been prepared any better as the chicken was juicy and the beef was barely medium.  As a result, the meats were succulent.  The only thing we would've liked to see was a bit more seasoning.  But that wasn't really a big issue as the spicy hot sauce rectified that and beyond.  If you want to enjoy the bread underneath, I would suggest you remove it immediately as it got rather soggy when we left the meat on top.  On the side, we found a large plate of Kabli Pulao with the familiar raisins, carrots, almonds and spices.  This was well-executed with fluffy and chewy basmati rice that was aromatic and sweet from the raisins.

In addition to the rice, we were also served  sides of Eggplant and Potato.  Nothing particularly interesting about these as the eggplant somewhat resembled the dip except it was hot and a bit more savoury.  The potato was soft and very mildly-seasoned.  On the other hand, the Kofta was a total 180 as the there was a noted spiciness  The meat patties were large and beautifully textured where the natural beefiness was present while still being super tender and moist.  If this looked like a lot of food, you are absolutely right.  It was far too much for the 4 adults and kids at the table, yet at the same time, not overpriced.  Not only is the food good at Afghan Kitchen, it is also well-priced.

The Good:
- Proteins cooked properly
- Large portions
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Kebabs could've been more flavourful on their own
- Service was friendly, but hard to flag someone down during peak times

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