After having some delicious drinks at Chill Winston (I am so doing a blog post about them just based on their drink menu… Yuuuummmyyyy!!!) My buddy Sean, from Sean’s Adventures in Flavortown invited me to dinner at Sitar in Gastown. You can read his review here. Sean took all the pictures for this post.
Sitar has been around since 1983. The restaurant has a nice vintage look to it, Indian art adorn the brick walls, the bar has really nice stained-glass windows. The restaurant was empty when we got there. We got there around 6:30pm and during the entire time we were there, only one more couple came in. I thought it was odd, considering this restaurant has been around for so long, and it’s so well known.
After we were seated, our server presented us with Poppadums (a crisp Indian cracker). We weren’t sure if we were supposed to have chutney with it, as it is usually served in other Indian Restaurants, until we saw the other table get some with theirs. (Things that make you go hmmm…) oh well, it’s free right? so no complaints… that is until we tasted it. Poppadums is supposed to be crispy. This one was flat, you can almost bend it, and it had a soggy consistency to it. Each of us took a bite, made a face, and set it aside.
The menu at Sitar isn’t cheap. Most curries are between $16 and $25. Sean and I ordered three curries to share: The Lamb Korma ($16.95), Chicken Tikka Masala ($14.95) and The Butter Chicken ($16.95). When we got them, I we got only one plate of rice each, for all three curries. Most indian restaurants present you with a side order of rice and an extra plate. I wasn’t impressed with the rationing in this place. Lovely presentation thought. Once we got the curries, the orders seemed small at first, but don’t be fooled. There’s plenty to be had. We had left overs for another meal after we were done.
My favourite dish of the night was the lamb korma – the lamb was cooked in this flavourful, creamy, cashew sauce. Oh so good. Also the lamb was very tender and well cooked. I recommend getting this dish. I found the butter chicken to be ok… but after having the butter chicken at Taste of Punjab in Surrey… there’s no comparison.
We also had the Paneer Naan ($4.95) with our meal. This naan came hot and fresh from the oven. The cheesy taste was familiar, almost like cheddar cheese? We asked our server if it indeed was cheddar and He got very offended very quickly.
He told us that they didn’t have such things in their kitchen, and just to prove it, he brought us a piece of the cheese they use. We meant no disrespect, but we thought it was odd that the cheese he brought us was white, and the cheese in the naan was orange. When we asked about the different colours, he said it was Indian spices. That kind of turned us off the experience.
Overall, what can I tell you? The food isn’t horrible, but it’s not great. Service? When we asked for our food to go, Sean wanted to take the rest of the naan home… our waiter dumped BOTH our dirty cutleries (also, far from the Urban Kitchen one) on the plate with the naan. (I apologize to Sean, for having to share my dirty cutlery germs). Not cool, Sitar. Not cool.
I usually don’t read other people’s reviews until I’ve written my own, but this time I made an exception. It seems that this restaurant hasn’t been as good as it used to be in the past 5 years or so. With us, if it would’ve been only once thing that was wrong, we would’ve let it go. But combined with high prices and bad service… It makes me sad, as they’ve been around for so long.