It was a landmark birthday for my Aunt (I won't broadcast her age over the blogosphere) and my uncle rented Sutra Modern Indian restaurant for a private party of approx 30 close family members and friends.They recently moved to Yaletown from Langley and randomly discovered Sutra one night.
It's become their favourite restaurant for a few reasons: the owners of the restaurant are amazingly nice, the food is delicious, they pour a mean cocktail, and they bend over backwards to accomodate my aunt's celiac disease (she can't eat gluten).
They've been telling me about this place for a while but I haven't had a chance to make it there for dinner so I was really excited when I heard the party would be held there.
This is a family own and run restaurants and they use traditional indian flavours with a variety of cooking techniques (I guess that accounts for the "modern" in the name) and have a strong emphasis on using fresh, local ingredients. It's in the old "Lucy Mae Brown" space but they've really transformed into into a cool, hip, modern, Indian lounge feel that feels slick and classy but comfortable. It's not a huge space, but they've done a great job with the seating plan because it doesn't feel narrow or cramped at all. Although the lights were pretty dimmed for the event and the room was filled with balloons for the party- so I'm curious what it looks like when it's not in "private party mode."
This restaurant has been open for around 3 months and is the second restaurant (the other is called Bombay Bistro and is located in Colorado) opened by owner-proprietor, Paul Gill and his wife Pari.
After initial mingling and every guest had arrived, we were seated and a plated appetizer round was brought to the booths.
Lamb Popsicle. This was quite large, juicy, and meaty in a light korma sauce with a very mild, creamy, tomato flavour. The sauce was very mild so the rich flavour of the lamb really stood out.
Saag. Creamed Spinach, greens, and fenugreek on a yellow corn roti topped with chopped onion and roasted garlic. I really loved this dish. It was fresh, creamy, and full of bright flavours- I would say definitely no canned or frozen spinach used here! The corn roti was really dense and it was a tasty and sturdy vehicle for the generous dollop of Saag.
Beets and Greens Salad. Marinated chopped beets, organic salad greens and a champagne emulsion dressing. This was fresh, bright, with a lovely citrus kick. So refreshing!
There was an awesome belly dancing performance while we enjoyed a buffet style dinner. She was awesome and definitely kicked the party up another level!
The food was all really good and you could definitely tell that they were serving their mild dishes (not spicy) that had the most general appeal for diners who aren't necessarily Indian food regulars.
Chicken Karahi Stir fry chicken with tomato cream and carrots and beans. This was probably my favourite sauce of the night. The tomato cream sauce had a really vibrant flavour and perked up my palate without much spice. The chicken was perfectly cooked, soft, not too chewy and the fresh veggies added to the bright-ness of this dish.
Kofta Korma Vegetable Fritters and coconut curry. I really liked this vegetarian option and though it tasted like delicious home-made veggie burger balls. They had a really nice flavour and you could tell that they were making these from scratch and not cutting corners. They put some love into these balls!
Braised Beef with black cardamon and coconut cream
Soft, fork-tender chunks of slow-cooked beef in a very subtle creamy coconut sauce. The beef had a really nice taste and flavour, the sauce was really mellow.
They also provided Basmati Rice with cumin, tumeric, peas and Naan bread (and yellow corn roti for my aunt and any other g-free diners) and a side of sliced onions, chopped cucumber, tomato sauce and raita.
Everything was savoury, flavourful, and you can tell that they aren't cutting corners in the kitchen and using quality ingredients. I typically would order spicier dishes- but when you are eating buffet style with a group, safer, mellow-er dishes are obviously the best choices to serve.
They also brought out a dish of their rice pudding to accompany the chocolate fudge birthday cake (brought in from a local bakery). This rice pudding with soooo good. Creamy, smooth, with an awesome cardamon/ cinammon flavours. This dish was actually an amazing accompaniment to the rich, dense, fudgy cake and I ended up smearing the pudding on the cake.
Their Chai tea also hit the mark- slightly spiced and perfectly warm and luscious and the perfect end to a great dinner.