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Secret's in the sauce: New Indian restaurant opens at the River Market

Named for its sought-after sauce, Butterica restaurant has opened at the River Market.

When Manish Petwal's first restaurant, Kalash, opened in New Westminster, one dish on the menu got a huge fan following — butter chicken.

Realizing that the creamy Indian chicken dish made up for 40 percent of the sales on Kalash's menu, and, having never tasted the dish previously, Petwal set out on a journey to India to get a taste of the "original" butter chicken.  

On his trip, he discovered that the true essence of the dish was in the sauce. 

"Back in India, they use fresh tomato and cashews," he said. "They don't use that much cream as we use here because they use a lot of fresh stuff. But here they use processed stuff like canned tomato paste."

Passionate about making the best sauce in Lower Mainland for the dedicated fan base, Petwal opened a new restaurant in the heart of New Westminster.

Although the name of the dish is butter chicken, people request it with different protein options, such as lamb, he said. Accordingly, he renamed his sauce "Butterica," and has given the same name to his new restaurant at the River Market on Quayside Drive in New Westminster, which focuses on getting the sauce as fresh as possible.

The menu boasts of a range of Butterica dishes, from samosa and fries to rice bowls made with Butterica sauce.

From handpicking the best tomatoes from local markets to slow-cooking and smoking them for six or seven hours to enhance the taste, Petwal was determined to provide patrons with fresh, authentic Indian flavours that his "daughter would love."

"We are making everything fresh every day," he said. "So there is no turnover of sauce, we don't want to keep those and then sell. I think because we have small community-based small business. But, eventually, on a larger scale, we have to figure out how we can do it as fast as possible and make sure that the you know the sauce sells in a manner that it's not stored for the next day."