Hello, readers! Sorry so long with no new post — I was visiting family in Vancouver and while we were there we had some fabulous meals. I did do a bit of research – mostly through Tripadvisor prior to our trip — but not all of our meals were based on reviews. Overall, we were pleased with the quality and flavours of our food and the service we received. The venues we chose were not bargain prices; for example, on average a meal for 4 adults would be $150-$175 plus tip. My personal attitude is — regardless of the price of the food (even a $5 sandwich), I resent paying for it if it is crap. We used to own a restaurant and our philosophy was to make the customer happier when they left than when they arrived and pleased to pay their bill. On this trip, much more so than many others, we were pleased with our food and level of service.
Our first evening we went to Vij’s Indian restaurant in Vancouver. You may be familiar with Vij – having seen him on television promoting his cookbooks or doing a cooking spot on local tv. He and his wife are both from India and they have become well known for their restaurants, cookbooks, spice mixes and ready-made foods. Having noticed that Vij’s was rated the #2 restaurant in Vancouver, I knew we should try it.
We arrived 15 minutes before opening and were welcomed in to the first seating of the night (no reservations). We were immediately served cold water as we sat down, and within a minute, offered a cup of hot chai. So soothing and delicious after a long day of flying. As we reviewed the menu, serving staff continually circulated throughout the restaurant, offering us complimentary delicious nibbles and appetizers. I loved the concept! Very welcoming. I was further delighted as Vij himself approached our table to ask if we had any questions and to take our order. Cool, eh? How many famous chefs come up to your table and take your order? It was great to discuss the various dishes and their ingredients with Vij. Our order consisted of a chick pea appetizer, followed by three curries -Prawns in coconut and fenugreek masala, Goat curry with lightly spiced vegetables and Chicken with roasted garlic and cashews in a tangy tomato curry – all different sauces with distinct flavours. Further happiness ensued. The curries started out mild and built to a crescendo of intense heat as the meal progressed. This is how curry is meant to be –beautifully spiced, perfect (hot!) spiciness, balanced flavours. The naan bread was hot, thin and maleable.
I had a delicious ginger-lemon beverage which was so refreshing– it tied in nicely with my meal. I will try to recreate that drink. When it was time to leave, after a traditional Indian dessert of fried dough in a sugar syrup flavoured with cardamom, our server graciously packed up our leftover curries and put in some extra rice. Believe me, the next day for lunch – we had another pleasure-fest slurping this down.
I can confidently say Vij’s was an excellent eating experience. In today’s world of food snobbery and pretentiousness in restaurants, Vij’s emphasis on making guests feel welcome and comfortable added greatly to our enjoyment of the experience. One of their cookbooks is definitely on my wish list.