Copper Chimney

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media event, but all opinions are my own.

Last week, I was invited to check out the happy hour menu which has relaunched at Copper Chimney. The Indian restaurant is located inside Hotel Le Soleil.

 

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The happy hour menu has a variety of appetizers and drinks on special. Most of the appetizers are around $7 and drinks at around $5-$8. The happy hour menu is available everyday from 3pm-6pm.

 

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Gin and Tonics

We got to try some Gin and Tonics. The restaurant carries gin from the local distillery, Long Table Distillery.

 

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Garlic Naan and Cheddar Cheese Kulcha Stuffed Bread

Not part of the happy hour menu, but who can say no to naan bread at an Indian restaurant? We were able to try both the Garlic Naan (left) and the Cheddar Cheese Kulcha Stuffed Bread (right). The naan are made fresh in their clay ovens to order. You can choose to have them with some chutney toppings such as mango, tamarind, mint-cilantro, or cucumber raita. I absolutely loved the cheese stuffed bread. The melted cheese was so stringy! I couldn’t stop eating this!

 

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Spiced Chips and Dip

Moving along to a happy hour item were the Spiced Chips and Dip. The chips are thick cut with a crispy exterior and served with a jalapeno and cumin raita dip. A great sharing dish!

 

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Minced Lamb Kebabs
I love skewers, so the Minced Lamb Kebabs were perfect for me! They had a nice char and were well seasoned.

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Tandoori Salmon

 

One of my favourites was the Tandoori Salmon. The salmon was extremely moist in the inside and the tandoori flavour was not overpowering. Highly recommend this!

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Vegetable Flatbread

For vegetarians, they have the Vegetable Flatbread which is topped with basil, goat cheese, and balsamic.

 

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Tiger Prawn Tandoori
Probably my favourite dish of the night was the Tiger Prawn Tandoori! Wow, these prawns were large and bouncy and seasoned with sambal, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, sea salt. Extremely flavourful!

 

 

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Manchurian Cauliflower

Another item on the happy hour menu is the Manchurian Cauliflower. The cauliflower has a crispy batter and comes with a sweet and sour sauce.

 

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Non Vegetable Thali
They also have both vegetable and non-vegetable thali on their regular menu. The non-vegetable thali comes with indian pickles, courgette curry, lamb curry, butter chicken, Manchurian cauliflower, saffron basmati rice, and papadum.

 

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Tiffin Box Meal
During weekdays, they also offer Tiffin Box Meals. The initial tiffin box is $15, but after that, each meal is $9. Each day, there is a different curry and the box also includes rice, naan, and a kachumber slaw. This is a great deal for those working around the area!

 

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After trying some of the food, we got to take a tour in the kitchen. Here, we were shown how the naan is made. They have two tandoor ovens which are extremely high heat. Therefore, making the naan only takes a few minutes before it’s full of these air pockets. The chef gave us the freshly made naan and wow, that was good! I don’t think I have ever had such fresh naan before. So light and fluffy!

 

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The restaurant has both lower and upper level seating. It also has a small patio on the ground level just outside of the restaurant. But if you want to throw a private party, you can also book a dining area upstairs which connects to this outdoor patio! I love how intimate and secluded this area is while getting the patio feel because it’s not covered. Super cool design!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the food at Copper Chimney. I’m no expert with Indian food so I can’t comment on authenticity, but the food tastes great! Will definitely be back for happy hour as it is so close to work!

 

Copper Chimney Restaurant - Indian Grill & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Ember Indian Kitchen

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Ember Indian Kitchen opened up just a few months ago. It’s located near the dyke in Steveston in the same area as Diplomat Bakery. The restaurant faces the water and has a small patio perfect in the summer months. I was really impressed with the interior of the restaurant though. With high ceilings and modern decor, this restaurant is beautiful!

 

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Butter Chicken

T got the Butter Chicken and for the entrees, you can choose either rice or naan to go with it. The butter chicken was creamy and rich and the chicken was tender. They asked what level of spice we wanted and we got medium, but I honestly didn’t think it tasted spicy at all. I guess butter chicken is not usually spicy anyways, so found it odd that they asked.

 

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Curry Chicken

For myself, I chose the Curry Chicken and got it with a side of naan. The naan was buttery and perfect for dipping in the curries! I really liked how the curry chicken here is boneless because the last thing I want to worry about is deboning the meat. The chicken again was very tender and the spices in the curry were very fragrant. Not too spicy as I got mild, but really loved the flavours!

 

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Overall, we were really satisfied with our meal at Ember. The prices are on the higher end with both our meals costing $18 each but the food itself is good, so I can’t complain. Plus, the ambiance inside is really nice! I can’t wait to be back with more friends so we can try more dishes!

 

Pros:
– Delicious curries
– Great ambiance and decor

Cons:
– Location is pretty out of the way unless you live in Richmond

Price Range: $20-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Ember Indian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maurya Indian Cuisine

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For our first and second year lunch, E suggested we go to Maurya Indian Cuisine for their lunch buffet. I came here last year when I first started work, but it was never a spot that I would crave for during lunch time since I find Indian food to be rather heavy.

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When you enter, you will be surprised how beautiful the interior of the restaurant is. High ceilings and beautiful decor. I can imagine this to be a great place to host parties.

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I believe the buffet lunch has increased their prices because it is now $15.49 before tax. In the first section, there are some salads, fruits and Indian appies.

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Next up are some spring rolls and vegetable pakoras.

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Moving on, you have your tandoori chicken, fish pakoras, two choices of rice and then your curries.

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This was my first plate and I have to say I would stick with the butter chicken. The tandoori chicken is rather dry and I’m just not a huge fan of their other curries. You also get baskets of naan which are very good. They also have some desserts such as their rice pudding and gulab jamun but I find Indian desserts to be way too sweet for my liking.

Overall, Maurya Indian Cuisine is average. Nothing amazes me but it’s a convenient option for me since it’s near work. However, I feel that I don’t eat enough to make my money’s worth during their lunch buffet, so I would probably stick to ordering a la carte next time. We also had an issue near the end when they ran out of most of their food and we had to wait a long time to have them refill it. Guess they weren’t expecting so many diners during a Thursday lunch.

Pros:
– Good variety of options during lunch buffet
– Ambiance is very nice

Cons:
– A tad pricey for lunch buffet
– Ran out of food during lunch service

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

Maurya Indian Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tandoori Kona

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Looking for a new place to try, MH (pictured above as he wanted to be featured) suggested I try Tandoori Kona in Richmond near Cambie and No. 5. I’ve heard great things about the restaurant, but I just never made the effort to try since it’s sort of out of the way. The restaurant doesn’t look very nice from the outside, but I was surprised that the interior is actually pretty nice and well decorated. It’s fairly small inside and on a Saturday night, we were lucky to find seats without reservations.

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Vegetable Samosas

We ended up inviting MW, S and J along and that was perfect since we could try more dishes! We started off with Vegetable Samosas (although we had wanted meat samosas, but they had sold out). It came with two sauces – one being slightly spicy.

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For $1.50, you get two samosas, which is a pretty good deal. The samosas were crispy on the outside and stuffed with peas, potatoes, and spices.

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Lamb Vindaloo

MW suggested we try the Lamb Vindaloo. The boneless lamb is cooked in ginger, coconut, vinegar and cream mixed with potatoes. For all the curries, they will ask you how spicy and you can choose from mild, medium, or spicy. We went with medium, but I was surprised it wasn’t too spicy. MH commented that this was surprisingly very good. The lamb was tender and the sauce was a nice change from your typical masala or butter chicken.

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Butter Chicken

Well we had to get the typical Butter Chicken as well. MH and MW had told me that this was very good at Tandoori Kona. The boneless chicken is marinated in their special buttery sauce, cooked in garlic ginger, and cream. Chicken was well tenderized and the sauce was creamy yet flavourful.

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Naan

All the dishes came with Naan as well, which is baked in a Tandoor oven. I really liked this leavened bread because it didn’t feel oily at all! It was much different from the naan I’ve tried at other restaurants, which are usually drenched in oil. Very fluffy and perfect to pair with all that sauce!

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I think you get a bowl of rice for each dish you order, so we got 4 bowls of basmati rice. Rice was fluffy and seasoned with some vegetables. The curries may look small in the bowl, but along with the naan, rice and all the cream that’s in it, you actually get really full!

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Chicken Tikka

The Chicken Tikka featured boneless chicken marinated in yoghurt ginger, cooked in a Tandoor and served with butter sauce. This was slightly more spicy and the chicken was very tender. I thought the sauce was not really necessary since the chicken is already well flavoured.

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Mixed Grill

We also got the Mixed Grill (I think it was called a different name on the menu), but the platter featured BBQ chicken, chicken tikka, lamb tikka, fish tikka, and was served with butter sauce. This is great if you haven’t tried a lot of their grilled dishes and want a bit of everything. I found that the fish wasn’t that great since it didn’t seem very fresh.

Overall, Tandoori Kona is definitely a hidden gem in Richmond. Prices are reasonable since Indian food is very buttery and you will get very full with the rice and naan. Good idea to come here with a small group of friends so you can share a variety of dishes. However, the restaurant is fairly small, so larger groups may need reservations.

Pros:
– Great food at reasonable prices
– Ambiance is surprisingly quite nice inside

Cons:
– Service is a bit slow (seems to be run by husband and wife)

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 4 Overall: 4

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The Bombay

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Looking for places to eat in Coquitlam, J suggested we go to The Bombay, since he’s been telling me how good their butter chicken is. However, everytime I try to go there, it’s closed. Finally, we arrived at lunch, and service was sort of sparse. We stood there waiting around and no one acknowledged us. Finally, we were seated, but no menus were given. Apparently during lunch time, they offer a lunch buffet for $9.99, so everyone goes for that. Taking a look in the menu, it seemed like that was a better deal, so we went for it as well. The buffet itself is really small, just like any other Indian buffets. There were an assortment of curries and tandoori chicken.

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There’s also a salad bar, but it did not look appealing at all. Nan and rice is available, but as per buffets, they were not fresh and hence not as good.

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The Butter Chicken was probably the best, but even so, J said that it’s usually better when you order off the menu. That’s probably because you’ll know your food will come hot and fresh. Lots of chicken and the sauce was creamy and flavourful. My other favourite was the Chicken Tikka Masala, which was boneless chicken breast in onion sauce with fresh tomatoes, ginger and garlic. I liked how it had some heat to it, whereas the butter chicken was not spicy at all.

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Roti – whole wheat flour, unleavened bread, baked in a tandoor

We decided to try their Roti, which came sizzling hot, so much better than the nan at the buffet that had been sitting around. However, my complaint would be how oily it was. There was a layer of oil glistening.

Overall, The Bombay’s lunch buffet was average. It’s a good deal if you fill yourself up with the curries, but I wouldn’t say the quality is amazing. Service is also really lacking, but the place was still filled up during lunch hours. Plus, there really aren’t that many other Indian restaurants in Coquitlam, so I guess it’s to their advantage. I’d still like to come back and try their regular menu and see how it compares.

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MyLahore – Manchester

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On my last night in Manchester, the girls took me to Curry Mile. This one street is just full of restaurants and kebab houses specializing in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Apparently there are at least seventy restaurants. They said that there’s so many restaurants that they never really know which one to go to. N had gone to MyLahore before, so off we went.

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Both the interior and exterior are quite modern-looking. The decor is very family-style with booths on the side and everything is very colourful. Friendly service as well.

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Sizzling Combo Platter – Chicken Seekh, Lamb Seekh, Lamp Chop, Chicken Pakora, and Samosa

N had been here before and suggested we get two sets of the Sizzling Combo Platter between the four us to share. This was a good platter since you get to try a variety of Indian appetizers. The Chicken Seekh was my favourite as they flavoured it really well. The Samosa was alright as I wish the wrapping was more flaky. This one was the type of samosas which had a thick outer layer that was more doughy.

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Chicken Karahi

For my main, I went for the Chicken Karahi. The Karahi is a curry made with mainly onions, tomatoes and peppers. The curry was a thin consistency rather than something like butter chicken. An intersesting note is that a karahi actually means the pot or wok that they use to cook this Indian dish. Anyways, the curry wasn’t too spicy as I asked for mild I believe. There were quite a lot of pieces of chicken and I wasn’t even able to finish most of it. I ended up having to wrap it up.

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Roti

None of the curries come with a side of rice so we had to order this ourselves. We ended up getting one Roti, which was huge. This was thin and crisp, but I missed the Malaysian rotis which were flakier.

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Naan

We also ordered one Naan. The naan was a bit oily, but I liked how it was very fluffy inside. I preferred the naan over the roti actually. It’s unusual how you actually need to pay for the naan, since most Indian restaurants provide unlimited naan. I guess their curries were priced a little cheaper, so they didn’t offer this.

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Pilaf Rice

We also got some Pilaf Rice, which we probably shouldn’t have… We had so much rice leftover and it was seriously so filling with all the roti and naan. I guess all of these sides were the right amount to the amount of curry we had, but we just weren’t able to finish most of it!

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And here was our meal! S got the Biryani which is something I wasn’t so familiar with. It’s pilau rice with onions, garlic cardamom, cinnamon and this rice is dry, but already flavoured with those ingredients. Then they give you a side of curry which is very thin in consistency, and you can pour this onto your rice. Pretty good! I believe N got the Masala, which is a curry sauce made from tomatoes, garlic and ginger. This is a common curry we find at most Indian restaurants as well. As for K, she got the Vegetable Karahi, which was also really good and spicy! You can choose how spicy you want the curries, so no worries if you can’t take spice. All in all, MyLahore didn’t disappoint. It was filled with people, and of Indian ethnicity, so that’s always a good sign! A bit of a wait, but not too long. Prices are also quite reasonable.

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Swagatam Bar Restaurant – Barcelona

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We were told by some friends that Swagatam Bar Restaurant was a really good Indian restaurant in the Gracia neighbourhood. It looks a little dodgy on the outside and it’s not exactly easy to find but it was surprisingly really good!

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Inside, the decor is not really any better. Definitely minimal and simplistic. However, service was pretty good and they spoke good English. We had a fairly large group, of about 10 people, so we decided the best way was to order a few curries and share. The waiter gave us a hand in choosing them, and the portions were just perfect with all of us being satisfied and full. I didn’t really take part in any of the ordering, so I don’t know exactly what the names of the dishes are… But here goes…

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We started off with two plates of these chips. I believe they are called Papadom but correct me if I’m wrong. They reminded me of tortilla chips, but they are a round disc shape and broken in half. I think these are made with lentil and chickpea and lightly salted. Crispy, but pretty much flavourless other than the salty taste.

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It came with three types of sauces to dip the papadoms. The dark reddish brown sauce was the mildest, and was actually a little sweet. It didn’t really have any kick to it. The green one in the middle was more of a yoghurt base and reminded me of those Greek tzatziki sauce. I actually liked this one quite a lot. The last one that was bright red was the spiciest sauce. However, I still didn’t find it to be super spicy. It wasn’t the spice where I needed to gulp water down right away. All of them were quite mild in my mind.

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I wasn’t able to get pictures of most of the curries since everyone already began indulging in them before I could get any snaps. I believe this was the Butter Chicken. We got mild for all the curries since Indian curries are usually quite spicy. However, we found none of the curries to be spicy! And I’m someone who can’t take spice… It was sort of odd and a little disappointing. Still, the butter chicken was really good. It was smooth and rich in tomato with a buttery texture. Lots of chunks of chicken too!

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I think this was the Chicken Tikka Masala. Again very rich and creamy. Still, it was not spicy enough!!

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We had a few bowls of Basmati Rice. We also had naan, which was complementary.

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Here’s a picture of some of the different curries we had. I think some had lamb, while others were mostly chicken. I especially liked the rice which was already seasoned. I’m not sure what it was called, but it was nicely flavoured and a good change from having such a buttery creamy texture. Overall, I was really happy with the Indian food at Swagatam. I believe they are one of the top Indian restaurants in Barcelona, actually. The only problem I had was the level of spice. Definitely could’ve kicked it up a level. Maybe we sounded hesitant when they asked us if we could take spice, hence what they served us. But otherwise, definitely worth checking out!

Vij’s

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Vij’s is known to be one of the best Indian restaurants in Vancouver. Not sure if it’s because of celebrity chef, Vikram Vij, but it’s definitely a must try! They’re famous for their long line-ups, so I haven’t had the chance, or maybe patience to go try it out. J had gotten me a gift card last year, and K said she wanted to go for my birthday, so off we went. We went on a weekday, and because of those scary line up stories I heard, I suggested we get in for our first seating. The restaurant opens at 5:30, but reviews suggested we go a little earlier than 5pm to secure a spot since they don’t take reservations. We got there around 5:05 and this is what the line up was like in the picture above. Not too bad. We were lined up just behind the lady in the white skirt, and there were around 10 people sitting in the patio area waiting as well. Soon after, the line began to form. At around 5:25, a lady came out to give us a sample of Cassava Root Fries. This was quite nice after waiting in the burning sun for 20 minutes. The people who sat at the patio area also had purchased drinks from a waitress who seemed to work at the sister store, Rangoli, which is right next door. They never offered the drink menu for the people in line though.

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Finally, at 5:30, they opened the doors and the line quickly moved as they got everyone seated. The inside smelled of spices and was dimly lit. I liked how they had enough servers to quickly get everyone their menus, water and greet them. They were definitely efficient and knew what they were doing.

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The kitchen area actually looks pretty small from the outside, but I’m not sure if it’s actually bigger than that. If not, I’m surprised they can get the food out in such a quick time.

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Simple tableware, but I loved the copper water bottle they used. Gave it some Indian flare and kept the water cool. I have to add that I’m really impressed that all the plates they provided us were hot! It definitely helped to make sure the food was still kept warm even on the plate.

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Complementary Chai

We were asked whether we wanted a sample of their complementary Chai. It was hot, and I honestly wasn’t looking for a hot drink after waiting in line under the burning sun, but I was curious to try it. I let it cool down for a bit, and took a sip. It was so good! I remember trying a chai tea latte at Starbucks, and absolutely hated it. I was surprised how good this one was! It was a little minty, and surprisingly sort of cooled me down. Delicious!

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Pakora

Just when I thought the samples were over, a server came around offering more! A burning hot Pakora! I sort of wish they had given us a plate first, since these were really hot, and I couldn’t even hold it for long. These were really good though! The spices were just right and not overwhelming.

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Cassava Root tossed in Indian Spices

They also gave us a second sample of the Cassava Root Fries tossed in Indian Spices. Again, these were burning hot and fresh. I find the spice a little too spicy though! Still delicious.

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Samosas filled with Lamb and Beef, sauteed in fennel, cloves and sumac

K and I decided to share two appetizers and a main as it was a relatively early dinner for us. I love samosas, but man, were these good! For $13.50, I had thought it was pretty ridiculous for 2 Samosas, but these are totally worth the price you’re paying for. I especially liked the curry at the bottom. It was similar to a butter chicken curry, and had a tomato base to it. Surprisingly, it also wasn’t too spicy and was delicious with the complementary naan. I’m not crazy for coconut, so at first, I didn’t mix the coconut mixture together. However, I gave it a try, and it was absolutely delicious. It brought some coconut flavour, which is always delicious in a curry.

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The pastry aren’t those thin, flaky ones you usually get at donair shops, but a thicker pastry, which still has the flaky texture. The inside was filled with lots of potatoes, lamb, and beef and tons of spices. If you don’t think you can get full off of one samosa, you will!

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Mutton Kebobs with Bengali Style Curry

To be honest, I don’t know much about Indian cuisine, so I ended up reading some reviews to see what is good. Follow Me Foodie had given a great review on the Mutton Kebobs, so why not? Both K and I didn’t even know what mutton was, but after googling, we learned that it was just an older sheep. Most chefs are afraid to use mutton because they have a stronger taste than lamb and can often be overcooked and dry. I did find that cutting into these kebobs, they were a little tough, but it seemed like it was because of the outer layer. The outer layer had a sausage like texture. The overall execution reminded me of sausages, and I found it spicy. The inside was extremely moist though. It was paired with a Bengali Style Curry, which was sort of like a Butter Chicken Sauce again, but very thin. The consistency definitely wasn’t thick. The curry was too spicy for me though, and along with the spicy kebobs, my mouth was flaming! I liked how they had a salad filled with cucumbers on the side though, as it cooled me down.

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Complementary Naan

We were given complementary Naan and this was soft and fluffy. Not extremely flaky, and more on the doughy side, but I enjoyed it. They were warm and weren’t too oily. You can get unlimited naan as long as you ask, but this stuff gets you filled up before you know it!

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Papri Chaat – 2 Kinds of Chutney and Mung Bean on Fried Dough

More samples? Yup. This is called the Papri Chaat. The server described it as two kinds of chutney and mung bean on fried dough. The fried dough was simliar to a tortilla chip, but not as salty. The mixture worked really well together and I could eat these as snacks all day!

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Wine Marinated Lamb Popsicles in Fenugreek Cream Curry on Turmeric and Spinach Potatoes

And then came what everyone raves about and what I came for. The Lamb Popsicles! Wow, weren’t these the best lamb I’ve had in my life. They were cooked to medium-rare and were extremely tender. The sauce was quite mild and actually a bit sweet. The consistency was much more thing, and was great to dip your lamb in. There were also spinach and buttered potatoes at the bottom which were delicious when soaked in the sauce. We were so full by the end of our meal, that we actually had to take two of these popsicles home. And honestly, I was afraid that they wouldn’t taste good anymore, but my dad tried it once we got home, and he said they were still delicious! That’s how good they are. Cooked perfectly!

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Complementary Basmati Rice

For our entree, they also brought out some complementary Basmati Rice. It had a nice spice and aroma to it, and were cooked so it wasn’t too dry. Really good with the cream curry.

My conclusion is that Vij’s is a must try! It might be overrated with all those lineups, but the food is that good! Try to get her for the first seating because you basically have to wait for the first seating customers to finish before you get a table. It’s also quite a pricey dinner, but so worth it. Come here for special occasions, when you aren’t in a hurry and have the time to wait and enjoy your dinner!

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