I had noticed the sign of “Spicy 6 Fine Indian Cuisine” on the busy Robson Street. But this is the area where I would rather grab a happy hour drink than have a full meal – the idea of having Indian food around here never came to my mind. But I’m glad the restaurant sent me a media invite to try their food, or I would never know how good their food is.
For the first impression, the tiny entrance let to the upstairs dining area does not link the place to the idea of fine cuisine. And the “$16 Lunch Buffet” sign didn’t help much either. However, once seated inside, I quite liked how bright, clean, and elegant the place was. The classic white tablecloths and neatly folded napkins exhibited a sense of refinement.
The starters came rather quickly. I was impressed how exciting and appetizing the dishes looked. Recommended by the server, the Lasuni Gobi ($10) features deep fried cauliflower in bright red soya garlic sauce, vaguely resembling a plate of sweet & sour pork freshly out of a Chinese wok. The soft but meaty texture of cauliflower felt good on the plate and so did the garlic flavours. The Fish Pakoras ($10) is made of cod fish marinated overnight in yogurt & spices, and deep-fried in batter. The flavours were good but I wish I could taste a bit more of the fish as it was a little dried out.
The main dishes were simply divine.
From their menu, the Prawn Masala ($19) was in a bright and sexy masala sauce full of vibrant fresh tomato flavours and the prawns were fresh and perfectly cooked. This is very refreshing because it takes great techniques to use multiple spices on fresh seafood and keep the seafood sweetness still front and centre. There was also the classic Lamb Rogan Josh ($17), which I always get at tasting at a new Indian place. Traditionally a Kashmiri dish with meat slow cooked in ghee and red spicy sauce, although the lamb tasted a little tough, the complexity of the spices and seasoning combining the richness of clarified butter sent waves and waves of flavours into me.
Last but not least, the Exotic Saffron Chicken Curry ($25), is not on their regular menu but is created available for Vancouver Foodster’s Curry Challenge. The richness of the buttery sauce, the sophistication of the spices, and the aroma of saffron, along with the little details – even the garnishing pomegranate seeds, grape tomatoes and a splash of yogurt, all contributing this perfectly balanced pool of goodness. The chicken, seemingly breast meat, was a little dry, but it didn’t seem to matter under that brilliant sauce.
I also love the fact that all the main dishes were served in a vessel with a built-in burner with flames keeping the food warm. Considering most of the dishes were cooked with ghee, it’s very important to keep the sauce hot and seductively luscious.
We also tried a few side dishes, such as the Spinach & Cheese Naan ($5), the Garlic & Basil Naan ($4), and the Basmati Rice Pulao ($5), all freshly prepared and packed of great flavours. My favourite was the naan bread packed with spinach and cheese, not often found at other Indian Restaurants, but super pleasing to the taste buds.
For drinks, we were sipping on their House Chai ($3) and the Mango Lassi ($4). It was unfortunate they ran out of Kingfisher beer, which would have made a great complement to the curry dishes.
It wouldn’t be a complete tasting without dessert, would it? We were so full after such a feast, but we packed most of the Ras Malai ($6) home, and it still tasted fantastic the next day. The small sweet milk patties soaked in cardamom flavoured milk with pistachios were not as sweet as I expected, which I found rather pleasant and enjoyable.
The dishes I tasted at Spicy 6 brought amazing sensory pleasures. For an appetizer, the Lasuni Gobi was delicious, and a fried cauliflower dish never seemed more vibrant and sexier. The Prawn Masala and the Lamb Rogan Josh were full of bold flavours, but the Exotic Saffron Chicken Curry, a limited offer for the Curry Challenge, was the star of the evening, luscious, aromatic and bursting in flavours. For a taste of the refined Indian cooking in Downtown Vancouver, I recommend this place.
Spicy 6 Fine Indian Cuisine
1116 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B2;
(604) 336-7999 or spicy6.com
* All dishes and beverages tasted in this post were complimentary. Opinions are on the reviewer’s own.