Full disclosure before I continue this Food Bite; I was quite sick that night, but since I was on vacation I wanted to tough it out, go out and explore the great edibles of Whistler. However as a result, this Food Bite in particular may not be as in depth as usual… Much of my focus for the night was spent trying to stay socially acceptable and not be dragged back to my hotel room.
The Royal Taste of India is a restaurant located just on the outskirts of the heart of Whistler Village, right above the McDonalds and across from IGA (if you’ve ever been up to Whistler before), serving authentic Indian cuisine. Definitely a place to revisit, but be prepared to spend a bit of money if you want to have a taste of the full experience.
That was the very first thought that entered my mind when I walked in. Why? Time Lord magic. For those that do not watch Doctor Who (shame on you by the way), TARDIS is essentially the Doctor’s (main character) means of transportation, a spaceship if you will, disguised in the form of a 1960′s London police box. One of the biggest features of this spaceship is the fact that it is much larger on the inside than it appears on the outside.
Same goes for this restaurant.
The outside looks quite tiny, just two windows underneath a small sign with the name of the restaurant. Walk inside however, and it reveals a long corridor filled with seats, and another large table once you make a right at the end.
The design itself seems quite plain, but not in a negative way at all. There’s a bar near the entrance, and seats all around. The lighting is quite dim, but is complimented by candles on each table. Also, the white tablecloths help keep a good balance between “the-lighting-here-is-minimal-but-I-can-still-see”, and “oh-my-god-what-just-touched-me”… It is on the good side of things.
Service is quite friendly, but expected as we were in such a tourist-y location; but honestly, one should never complain about having good service at a restaurant. Overall it is a nice atmosphere, that can entertain almost every crowd; playing it safe to not scare off visitors that may have an apprehension to Indian cuisine (on the surface anyways), while still keeping enough authenticity to not be categorized as some sort of a fusion.
Quite a large selection when it comes to the menu, almost to the point of confusion for someone who isn’t familiar to Indian cuisine. I know many may find a large menu intimidating and it seems higher end restaurants tend to see it as a big taboo, but personally I find it fun to explore the vast selection… But that’s just me.
I ordered the Fish Vindaloo with a side of Basmati rice (playing it safe with something I know, since I was sick), and although it took a while, it was definitely worth the wait. The portions looked small at first, but by the end of the meal I was more than satisfied (thought I had room for dessert… Guess not). There were plenty of ingredients in the Vindaloo, and the spices really shined through; you can clearly taste the difference between a meal here, and let’s say your local Curry Express at the food court. There was an abundance of fish (as it should be), and it was cooked perfectly in the sauce, not too mushy, but soft enough to give off a nice texture after each bite. Although the rice was nothing spectacular, it was still a nice accompaniment to the Vindaloo, and the two blended very well together.
Since I went with a bunch of my friends, there was a lot more on the table. One dish that really stood out in my eyes (or mouth I should say) was the Garlic Naan Bread. Simple dish, but there was a distinct hint of garlic flavour that really brought out the bread. On top of that, when paired with a curry or another flavourful dish it simply exploded in your mouth… Call it a moment of savoury bliss if you will.
I really wish that I wasn’t sick when I came to this restaurant, as I imagine the experience would have been much better; but I was, so we move on. Service was great, food was amazing, but if I had to pick on one aspect… It would have to be the washroom. First there is only one, which is understandable given the amount of space. However, the difference was night and day compared to everything else. It wasn’t very clean, didn’t match the decor of the rest of the restaurant; it just didn’t seem “finished”. Since I was sick, I did spend a bit more time in there than usual, and it may be a small part that I’m picking on, but I just wasn’t comfortable at all. Something that can be avoided I guess…
Another note that I should mention is the price; it isn’t exactly cheap. I’m not saying it is expensive, but be expected to pay at least $20-$25 CAD per person (not including drinks).
The next time I’m in Whistler I will be back to give The Royal Taste of India another try. Again, a good selection on the menu, great food and service, but the washrooms could use a little work, and it isn’t exactly what you can call a cheap meal. All in all though, if you need something to warm you up after a good Ski/Snowboard session on the mountain, drop by this place and you will not be disappointed.