Where do you find one of Burnaby's best Indian restaurants? Drive up Burnaby Mountain, round and round until you reach the very peak of Burnaby Mountain, toward the coziest corner of the Cornerstone building. The Himalayan Peak Indian Cuisine and Lounge deserves due recognition for not only braving their business onto the highest altitude of academia, but also for giving isolated locals a high quality, full-service restaurant on campus. Daily drink specials, the popular all-you-can eat buffet, and well-prepared dishes from their a la carte menu makes Himalayan Peak a great choice, for a diverse crowd.
Himalayan serves refreshing liquids, convenient after a long day at school. Monday summer nights are best spent on Himalayan's patio, enjoying a bucket of domestic beer, while Friday night's special make it the ideal place to start off girls' night with their specialty martinis. Best of the bunch include the Holy Cow martini - made with vodka, creme de cacao, amarula, Kahlua, and milk. The Sour Taxi Driver is destined to make one pucker up with its tart combination of vodka, sour Apple, a squirt of Triple-Sec and lime mix.
Appetizers at Himalayan Peak are a great start to explore the menu. The Twin Peak samosas, two plump, pastry-like packages, were filled with a toothsome mixture of potatoes, peas, fragrant spices, perched on a pool of savoury chickpeas and sauce. Even more enjoyable were the Sherpa's Bite Veggie Pakoras, little gems of lightly fried veggies in a light well-flavoured batter. The shining appy of them all is the Golden Sitar Chana Bhatura dish, two huge pieces of light, fluffy deep fried bread, slightly sweet and still soft, accompanied with a pot of curried chickpeas.
Vegetarians will find plenty of options; the vegetarian Punjabi Plains Palak Paneer in particular was an enjoyable dish. The homemade Indian cheese was a rich, creamy entree, tasty with fresh spinach, garlic, onions, and ginger. Another great vegetarian dish was the Indus-Valley Alloo Gobi. Dry curried cauliflower and potatoes, cooked with turmeric, onions, cumin seeds; the vegetables were zesty and perfectly cooked, still retaining a bit of a crunch. Many of the dishes come with a little side of lively chutney or salad, great if you need an extra dose of flavour to the already vibrantly spiced food.
The Mountain Cream Butter Chicken was a crowd-pleaser, the boneless pieces of chicken breast was not overcooked as it is in many restaurants, the spicy tomato cream sauce had just the right balance of heat. All the mains are served with a choice of rice or naan bread. Make sure to order one of their many fantastic home-made side breads, options including chicken or paneer naan.
If good food alone is not enough to entice those living off campus to venture up, the promise of Simon Fraser beautiful summer weather may. Better yet, make it into a day trip, taking a walk along one of SFU's trails, before soaking up the beautiful, balmy summer nights at the Himalayan Peak patio.
Reviewed by: Christine Louie
Last reviewed: March 10th, 2007