A few weeks ago I started planning a retreat for our team, to take place at the peaceful Strathcona Wilderness Centre, situated just outside of Sherwood Park. As the SWC has an open policy when it comes to food, we had no limitations when it came to catering options. As it made the most geographic sense to choose a company based in Sherwood Park, after some research, we decided on Taste of India. Not only was their per person price reasonable, but before we made the final agreement, the owner of the establishment invited my coworker and I to sample their food – on the house (an $11.50 lunch buffet).
We planned our visit for a Friday afternoon, after viewing and finalizing the booking with the folks at the Wilderness Centre. The restaurant apparently used to be a combination Indian and Mexican eatery, but the latter half has since been divided and will reopen as a comedy club soon. Taste of India was bustling with patrons when we arrived, with a large number of them seeming to be regulars. The owner was a grand hostess, and seemed to be familiar with most of the customers – it made for a very comfortable, jovial atmosphere.
Interior (lovely display of bangles)
The array of dishes on the buffet looked promising, especially when we saw a number of the more popular trays being replenished on a regular basis. All of my favourites were there – butter chicken, mutter paneer, pakoras – and some dishes I was less familiar with – beef kofta being one of them. Though we skipped over the cold dishes for fear of not having enough room, a tossed hot dog salad seemed strangely out of place.
Food, glorious food
The butter chicken was necessarily tender, coated with a richly addictive sauce at a spice level agreeable to my palate. The beef kofta, as it turned out, tasted remarkably similar to the Swedish meatballs at IKEA. A surprise turned out to be the mixed vegetables (which were to be included in our catering order), the peas and green beans still retaining their crispness in spite of being tossed with a mildly spicy sauce and forced to languish under heat lamps.
Service was also good, with our water glasses never reaching empty. And of course, having the meal comped was a nice gesture. Needless to say, the whole experience – the meal and the owner’s generosity – won us over.
Bell located at the exit – it was rung quite a few times during our visit!
The catered food was equally as good. All of the dishes arrived hot, and even with 35 hungry mouths to feed, some of our staff were even able to go back for seconds. The naan, in particular, was stellar, slightly charred in places, but distinctly chewy, perfect for scooping up sauce-drenched butter chicken and channa masala.
To end, just a few photos of the Strathcona Wilderness Centre – we were fortunate to have sunshine on Thursday, and I took advantage of the weather with a short lunch hour stroll. I’d like to return some time in the future to rent their snowshoes or cross country skis – it would be a great excuse to get away to the country again!
Taste of India
6 Blackfoot Rd, Strathcona County
Strathcona Wilderness Centre
52535 Range Road 212, Strathcona County