Last night, I took my taste buds on an ethnic adventure at Afghan Kitchen located in South Surrey for an exclusive media tasting with a fellow foodies Andrew from EatwithMao and Belinda. When it comes to Afghan cuisine, it’s almost unheard of in the Lower Mainland so I was quite excited to experience the culture through their food! So what exactly is Afghan cuisine? From what I’ve gathered, it’s influenced by South and Central Asia with Iranian flare. The use of spice for their dishes is mild compared to India as they like to incorporate fresh ingredients to preserve the natural integrity of their proteins and vegetables.
Walking in, I was immediately drawn by the level of detail from the dainty mosaic lanterns, patterned dividers and its wooden accents. Very relaxed atmosphere with sophisticated aesthetics. You could tell a lot of effort was invested in planning the layout of this place.
Main entrance is on the right side of the restaurant.
Bohemia-style Afghan room with playful warm tones that blend nicely with the décor.
The bar is amazing! Full bar with an extensive list of alcohol sourced by local breweries like Faculty Brewing Co. and they even serve kombucha!
AK Soup ($9) “The Foundation” with chicken and corn. The soup was light and comforting with plentiful of ingredients. Surprisingly, the consistency of the soup was a lot thicker than I had anticipated as I believe corn starch was used to thicken it. Afghan Kitchen puts emphasis on using only the freshest ingredients to make their dishes.
Green and Safed(White) Dip ($6/each) with Afghan naan. The green dip is an avocado mix while the white dip consists of yogurt and cucumbers. Each had a bit of garlic, mint, salt and pepper. The naan here is made fresh daily with their tandoor oval, the traditional way. It’s a lot thicker than the Indian version naan- a lot more pillowy as well!
We loved them so much they gave us extra to go with our dip 😛
Pakawras ($7) batter-fried potato slices with yogurt dip. These were seriously good! As the menu states “crispy and dangerous” because they are seriously addictive.
Mantu ($16) vegetarian or meat option available. Also known as Afghan dumplings doused with yogurt, stewed tomatoes, and dried flecks of mint. The owner served us the vegetarian version that had a cabbage filling. They reminded me of the Nepalese ones I tried from Cafe Kathmandu on Commercial Drive (now permanently closed). Paper thin with a clean tang of yogurt and acidity from the tomato stew. This one was a crowd favourite! Afghan cuisine is not as spicy as Indian cuisine, but there was definitely a bit of kick to them.
Lamb Kebab ($18)with eggplant and rice. Kebabs are like the equivalent to fast food globally. It’s increasingly becoming popular as a late night snack or quick meal for many consisting of skewered meat and rice. While the marinated lamb kebabs were nice and tender, I personally thought the eggplant was the star! The eggplant had bold flavours and integrated nicely into this dish. It’s super labour intensive as it’s prepared through a process of being roasted, fried and re-roasted again with yogurt and tomato sauce. This also came with Afghan rice known as Kabuli Palau.
Afghanistan’s national dish is the Kabuli Palau which is a rice dish consisting of julienne carrots, raisins, and almonds. This type of rice is mostly served during special occasions due to its labour intensive process. A delicious blend of sweet and savoury components.
Chicken Kebab ($18) Similar to the lamb kebab! The chicken is marinated over a two-day period. We also got to sample of bit of the potato borani prepared exactly the same as the eggplant with stewed tomato sauce infused topped with yogurt and dried mint flakes. Preparation technique of the marinated chicken was executed nicely as they were juicy and moist!
We also got to sample different hot sauces to go with our protein! I believe the green one is Hanya Chatni boasting a blend of parsley/coriander and spices while the other was the Red Chutney with a belnd of chili, garlic, and spices. The Afghan version of chutney is thinner and more acidic and is usually accompanied with kebabs.
Lamb Shoulder ($19) braised shank in chef’s special blend. The lamb is first steamed and then boiled. The water from the boiler is then used fin the pressure cooker and lastly into the oven to roast prior to serving. These were fall of the bone tender!
Afghan Meatballs ($16) Yes, they are flattened! Not your typical shape of beef meatballs with blended spices. This dish also came with rice! And the food just never stops from here…. 😛
Lamb Shank ($20) Unfortunately, we were too full to give the lamb shank a try. This is the owner’s favourite dish!
Mother’s Secret Cake resembling almost a pound cake served with Afghan condensed milk. They only have three types of dessert on their menu- you guys seriously have to try this one!
Afghan Tea infused with saffron. Saffron is known as the most expensive spice in the world, known for its many health benefits like digestion and improving gastric flow. It went really well with the cake in cutting out the heaviness!
Jasmine Kombucha:with a green tea and black tea base sourced by Oddity/Faculty Brewing Co. Refreshingly light with a hint of floral notes. It was my first time trying komchua and it seriously did not disappoint!
You guys will have to visit this place and ask the owner to let you sample this treat!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media event. All food and drinks were complimentary. Opinons are my own.
115-16120 24 Ave