A fusion of flavours | Suruchi

A meal at Suruchi is a trip across the Mediterranean, India and the Middle East. RACHEL AGIUS heads down to Paceville to see what it’s all about

(Photo: Ray Attard)
(Photo: Ray Attard)

A good restaurant experience is never just about the food. Certainly the edibles are important – otherwise you would go to the cinema or a museum. But there are other elements too that can make or break a restaurant’s ‘experience factor’, as I like to call it. 

Staff and service are two important ones. You cannot enjoy a meal if the person serving it is not, at the very least, competent and courteous. 

The décor is another. While gastronomic works of art can be found in the strangest, most low-key locations, a dingy garage in a dodgy neighbourhood may not be a great location for a first date, for instance. 

On all these fronts, Suruchi delivers. Set in the heart of Paceville, a town better known for its unruly tourists and youngsters who drink too much, this little oasis brings an interesting fusion of Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean dishes to the table. Our attentive host checked in regularly but not too often – there’s nothing worse than being asked how your food is while you are working on a mouthful of it.

The tastebuds were certainly well taken care of. None of the three sections of the menu was neglected – each geographical region was well represented with a variety of starters, soups, mains and desserts. Mix and match a few or stick to one region – a meal at Suruchi can span the globe or keep it local, with as many combinations as you can think of.

Our party decided on the former and, in true Mediterranean style, shared our dishes. We started off with embattan – potatoes stuffed with beef and deep-fried – and chicken pakora, which is what all fried chicken dreams of tasting like. 

A Shorba Libiya and Dal soup followed, accompanied by an Indian beer, the Kingfisher. My favourite was the spicy North African soup, with chunks of lamb in a satisfying broth. The Dal, a familiar dish on any Indian menu, was thick and reassuring, a welcome warmer on a chilly night.

Between courses is the perfect time to take in one’s surroundings. There are two types of seating available; tables set out in the middle of the dining room, great for larger, more social groups, and booths sectioned off with sheer drapes. If Aladdin were to take Jasmine out on a date, he would pick one of those. Private but not isolated, they are perfect little pods for a more intimate meal. 

With a swing of the kitchen doors, our main courses arrived. The biryani chicken was an impressive mountain of a meal, delicately seasoned chicken atop saffron rice that was as satisfying as it looked. The lamb tajine, brought steaming to the table, was gloriously tender, requiring no knife to ease the meat off the bone. Simply wonderful. 

We ended (with some encouragement – at this point we were full to bursting) with some Indian ice cream. A mango explosion that was both creamy and tangy. A refreshing end to a meal packed with flavour and one I am certainly eager to return to.

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