Four Spice Does more than Kickin’ it Up a Notch!

20200703_181232Four Spice
2637 Quadra St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Weds – Mon : 12pm to 12 am
Phone: (250) 590-9647

ES: Palagio Pizza & Poutine66 used to be a couple in Quadra Village some years ago. Though I’m not in the area often, I’m used to seeing both signs proudly coaxing locals and pizza aficionados in. I’m not entirely sure Poutine66 is gone as they are no longer its own separate space. They still have an operational webpage.

In its place in this little corner of this huge mall is Four Spices, and these meals can get extremely hot! Sizzling in fact… I didn’t burn my mouth just yet as it was Don who made the order, and I was ready with my Peptol just in case…

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DK: Yes, the medium spice here is a true medium. Sorry grandma; get your tepid Tikka or Tandoori somewhere else. Seriously though–is the spice level truly gut-busting? I wouldn’t say so, but I did see sweat rolling down Ed’s face.

ES: Okay, I’m not the best at handling heat. I’m the type of bear who will hibernate in the coldest of the days and hottest too, just to avoid the deep freeze or summer blaze. Hm, maybe I should say the type of bear who’d jump into a river on those blistering days of Summer just to stay cool.

DK: What, however, struck me most about this place was how familiar it felt. Not just because each new tenant hasn’t updated the interior much, but because the flavours and fellow diners felt so known. Amongst all this confounding Covid bullshit, it was an oasis of melt off the bone goat biryani and poetry readings (experiences may vary; we can’t all be lucky enough to have a man reliving the glory days of Ontario rave culture recite Poe and Whitman to us as he’s waiting for his curry).

What say you, Ed? Am I romanticizing too much? I felt like Four Spice offered good, simple food in a friendly, simple space.

 

ES: As long as they continue to offer the flame seared prawns in that mint sauce, I’m sold! It was moist but yet crispy. I can only imagine what this appetizer would be like if smoked up too.

The owner/operators could do with jazzing up the area a little bit. One of those sticky fly coils was hanging nearby and that was a turn off for me. I made a point of not sitting anywhere near that area. If you’re going to dine-in, there’s a limited number of seats. In these Covid panic times, I’d say no more than six people can be allowed indoors.

I can see outdoor dining become available for the summertime and there’s a bit of space for it. To avoid the heat from beating down on me, the mango lassi was perfect! It’s a tough strong but I loved it. The balsamic rice was also just as much of a highlight since they added a bit of pepper to give it that gentle spring that food from India is well known for. The garlic bread–smoke me a kipper and I’ll be back (here) for breakfast. Well, there’s nothing specific to this particular meal of the day, though I’d to see what they can come up!

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One thing I must say is that there was a vegetable chow mein on the menu that I’m very curious about. Isn’t that supposed to be a Chinese dish?

DK: I didn’t notice the vege chow mein! Worth a second look for sure.

Ed, did you clock that the prawns were the only dish we didn’t end up with leftovers of? Definitely the hit of our parade. The chicken korma was really the only underwhelming thing we ate (and it wasn’t bad, I’ve just had better). Overall they serve satisfying grub and I’d be back in a lub-dub.

Four Spice is a fine addition to Victoria’s improving Indian food scene. It’s comfort food that is truly comforting.

4 Stars out of 5

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It’s Blazing at Sizzling Tandoor

static1.squarespace637 Johnson St.
Victoria, BC
(250) 388-5450

E: The fire is spreading over at Sizzling Tandoor but the question of which operation James and I should hit, the original Johnson location or Uptown Shopping Centre (to which my buddy hates visiting) meant only the first operation should count. At least we’re finally managing to hit most of the restaurants that line along Johnson Street. Now the trick here is if I can convince my buddy to swallow another pepper whole?

J: I’ve been to the Sizzling Tandoor before after they opened. I knew the owners and they invited me to come in and try their wares. Unfortunately I was a wimp when it came to Indian cuisine. The result was barely touched food and a terrible shame I could not get rid of. But since that incident I have vowed to learn to eat and appreciate as much Indian cuisine as possible. There are foods I still can not touch but my progress is good. I have even built a tolerance to spicy food. It may surpass the great Edmundo.

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Hunting for Food In the Bengal Jungle

Bengal1The Bengal Lounge
721 Government Street
The Fairmont Empress
Victoria, BC
(250) 389-2727

J: The Fairmont Empress (formerly The Empress) to me is the big time. I’ve both dined here and ate breakfast. I’ve even had the pleasure of staying here for two days. To me, nothing beats The Fairmont Empress when it comes to quality and service. And until I find something better, consider me biased.

The leader of the island’s hoteliers has seen it’s fair share of famous names and one of those is one of my favourites, Bing Crosby. This is going back to a time when Bob Hope would come here to golf, Don Wilson (of The Jack Benny Program) would come here to fish and the Duke himself, John Wayne, didn’t consider it un-American to order some candy treats from Rogers’ Chocolates on Government Street. But Ed, myself and our photographer Yvonne Fried were not here to stay the night, we were here for a photo shoot within the Empress’ walls and to have a spur of the moment bite in The Bengal Lounge.

E: Can you imagine us, Two Hungry Blokes, as models? Okay, wipe that thought from your minds. James and I have plans, as I’ve mentioned in a previous article, to expand our site to cover more than just food. We will be covering the arts and local culture, so what better than to use the classiest hotel in Victoria for images. Mind you, I think we should have posed with the tigers before entering The Bengal Lounge. I’d like to see James stick his head into a tiger’s mouth. On this day, both our tummies were roaring for food.

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Going Cukoo for Kuku’s

Kuku’s Take Out & Delivery
24 Burnside Rd. West
Saanich, BC
(778) 430-5858

J: Ed and I found ourselves in the Harriet/Burnside area which is where my old stomping grounds were. I fondly remember local streets like Cloverdale before they were industrialized.

As a child I walked along the train tracks that once existed half way down Cloverdale’s hill (now the Galloping Goose trail) which ran next to a creek that would freeze over for the winter. I remember the friends I made and the games we used to play. 1977 to 79 were some very good years for one to be a Canadian kid.

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Looking for a Real Taste of India

Real Taste of India
768 Fort St  
Victoria, BC 
(250) 477-8883

E: One of the essential rules of waitressing includes knowing which is which on the menu and being able to know who ordered what. To not know can spell trouble. That can be excused when taking orders from a large crowd, but when James and I were the only two in Taste of India, I can’t be too kind. The food was great, but the service really needs to be worked on.

J: The service was poor and I’m saying this kindly because I want to use a manure reference. Our first server made many fatal mistakes; the first one was with upselling us more food without explaining his reasons for doing it.

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Putting a Heart on Fire

The Spice Jammer
852 Fort Street
Victoria, BC
(250) 480-1055

Today’s installment comes from our guest writer, Michael Allen, the webmaster of 28 Days Later Analysis, an informative website dedicated to news and reviews in the independent horror entertainment scene.

Spice Jammer is one of the true dining delights offered by this small West Coast town. They have East African cuisine and are highly regarded for its flavourful curries and marsalas. The food, combined with the service and atmosphere, create an exceptional casual dining experience.

Is the Spice Jammer the best Indian restaurant in Victoria? This exotic food lover would give an emphatic yes. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a night here, then your first memories will likely be about the fine service. Immediately upon entering Spice Jammer, I was greeted by a host wearing a dark red kurta. I was quickly seated in a lushly coloured sitting area and my order for appetizer samosas and naan bread was promptly taken. The only imperfection in service was the slower time in preparing the meals; with over 15 occupied tables, the reason for the delay was understood.

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