April 08, 2009 | | Comments 5

Seattle Spring 2009: Pam’s Kitchen

As much as we had always wanted to make a visit to Pam’s Kitchen, for various reasons we had not. Pam’s Kitchen had always been on our list of to-visit places in Seattle. This time we made it a point to make Pam’s Kitchen our priority.

Pam’s Kitchen is known for their Rotis from Trinidad and Tobago.

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Pam’s Kitchen is located in the intersection of University Way and NE 50 Street in Seattle. Along this row are actually a lot of hole-in-the-wall type of eateries of almost every major cuisine. We counted among others Filipino, Chinese, Greek, Hawaiian, Japanese, East Indian, Pizzas. All of them looked very good from the outside.

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Walking into Pams’ Kitchen, there were an unmistaken (and somewhat overpowering) aroma of spices and curry. Service was very quick and friendly. They gave us two tall glass of water the moment we got settled. The place was not very big and we can see around us that their customers looked like students mainly. Definitely no families here that night.

Strangely, we noticed a rather prominent sign hung from the ceiling that says “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. We wondered what that sign was all about and if they have rather rowdy customers here before.

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They have rather unique drinks. Suanne had the Peanut Punch (Milk Base) which costs $3.75. This is not like anything we ever drank before. It tastes like watered down peanut drink with milk. It actually tastes like peanut butter. Am thinking that perhaps one could make this by blending a few spoonful of peanut better with milk. We like this.

For me, I had the Sorrel which is described as Caribbean Hibiscus Petals, spiced boiled and sugar sweetened. It has an obvious floral taste and smell to it. It is also kind of like chai tea with herbs and spices. We find the taste quite unique and yet familiar. Although it is described as sweetened, it is also a bit sourish. $3.50.

The drinks were a great start to the main meal.

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When in Pam’s Kitchen, one just have to have Roti. There are two main selections you need to make when ordering Rotis:

  • Decide on the meat: Chicken ($10.50), Beef ($11.50), Lamb ($13.50) or Goat ($13.50)
  • Decide on either Paratha or Dahlpuri.

Suanne chosed the combination of lamb and paratha. The lamb was spicy but not very hot. Meat was tender to the bite. It was very well made and flushed with flavour. The drawback was that it was rather dry’ish and that we wished they had more curry sauce to dunk the roti with. We also liked the mash potato and chick pea server on the side … it looked deceptively mild but was spicy hot. Nice.

I read from the menu saying that they hand wash all the meats thoroughly with lemon juice.

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The paratha was fluffy, almost pillowy. This is like a thicker version of the Malaysia Roti Canai. It is also dry and had a lot of taste of flour and dough, like it is not fully cooked. The piece was very large and will fill you up quickly. Personally, if this is the roti Pam is famous for, then I would opt for Malaysia’s Roti Canai anytime. [Cringing now ... expecting brickbats thrown my way. LOL]

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I had Pelau for my main. It is described as “Imagine Jambalaya, boneless dark and white chicken swimming in an ocean of chopped carrots, celery and white rice browned by pigeon peas or red beans).

I guess I did not “imagine” enough. I like fried rice but, personally, not mushed up rice. When it came I thought to myself this is exactly what was described word for word but it did not occured to me it is like this.

Anyway, I since I got this I took this … and actually liked it! I still did not like the texture of the soggy rice but love the flavour in the Pelau.

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We also ordered a side dish … Spicy String Beans. It was only mildly spicy and has a sourish taste to it. We thought we should not have ordered this as the main dish with the drinks were already too much food for us.

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Their chili is wickedly hot. You want to spice up your food, the Habanero sauce is rather lethal. I just took a small drop and the heat lingers in my mouth for a long time. The milk base peanut punch did nothing much to ease the pain.

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The bill came up to $48 after tips … and that is USD, mind you. So, foremost in our mind is “boy, this is a bit too expensive for rotis”. This is almost twice the money compareed with The Kingfish cafe we had earlier that day. So, here is my verdict … Pam’s Kitchen is over-priced and over-hyped [Ducking again the brickbats thrown my way]. The food was not bad, mind you.

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  1. Phil says:

    I love rotis from Trinidad. There used to be place that served true blue Trinidadian food like curry meat rotis, curry plates etc. on West 4th but they closed a few years ago which was too bad. I think it was replaced by a juice bar called Sejuiced.

    (Hey Ben, if this comment goes thru, it would appear I am still unable to enter the comment on the izakaya post as I tried 7 times before typing this entry, I did a reply and also a new thread for that post, both to no avail)

  2. Marmaduke says:

    As a whole, which city has better eats: Seattle or Vancouver?

  3. Milena says:

    I am a big fan of pam’s and a the dalpurhi is what you want to order with the roti by the way. Don’t let this review fool you..pam’s is way worth it! Any Trini will feel at home and plenty hungry! Liming at Pam’s..

  4. etranger says:

    Pam’s is in the University District which is one of the rowdier neighborhoods of the city, and one where I would be most likely to be careful of my surroundings and not stay out too late. It is very safe in the daytime and early evening, but no doubt the neighborhood prompts the “Right to Refuse Service” sign. People reading this blog are unlikely to be refused service…!

    I haven’t been to Pam’s yet, but we go to the little movie theater across the street so I’ll go soon. Fourno’s, a block south, is great for very inexpensive and tasty Greek food.

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