The Township of Esquimalt is buzzing about a new local restaurant.
Spice Valley opened its doors on Dec. 10, and since then community members have praised the Indian restaurant on social media, Trip Advisor and Google, where it has a solid five-star rating from 65 reviewers.
The secret? A family-style approach paired with over 14 years of experience.
“I’m so excited and so happy, because this is my dream,” said co-owner and chef Prahlad Singh. “It’s a family restaurant, my wife also has good experience working in hospitality and my friend [and chef] also has 13 years experience.”
Singh was a chef in India at Fairmont, Marriot and Taj hotels before he moved to Canada in 2012. Since then he’s worked at the Sizzling Tandoor and Mantra before opening a restaurant of his own.
“The only difference now is he’s not restricted to any kinds of recipes, he can make his own dish and introduce it to people,” said Kamelsh Kanwar, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband and runs the front of house. “He puts all his love and his hard work into his work, I think that’s the secret.”
The northern India-based menu offers favourites like lamb seekh kabab, tandoori chicken, spinach paneer and a large menu of curries and dahls. The food is prepared in traditional ways, using a large clay oven to make fresh-baked naan and tender kababs, and at lunch there is a full buffet.
“We also offer a lot of gluten free and vegan options, so people love that,” said chef Gajendra Naruka.
The owners picked out every aspect of the restaurant, including construction and decoration.
“We wanted to decorate it like it was our home,” Kanwar said. “I was afraid people would think it was too much, but they seem to like it.”
Kanwar added that so far they haven’t put a lot of work into marketing, and that so far everything is by word of mouth.
“It seems to be working out,” she said, adding that in the near future Spice Valley will be partnering with Skip the Dishes to make their food available to a wider audience.
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday and is located at 910 Esquimalt Rd.
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