Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11th - Rangoli Indian Restaurant

I love indian food. It is one of my preferred cuisines that I could probably eat several days in a row before needing a break. I can't say that for many foods except Korean, obviously. I can't even stand sandwiches more than two days in a row. I never did well for lunches in the UK. Sandwich addicts they are. That said, they have the best curry in the world. I'd even heard that the indian food in London is better than any you'll find in India. I can believe it. I would particularly believe that for Brick Lane on the East End of London and Birmingham for Balti.

Vancouver, on the other hand, is not that accessible for indian food. There are areas, like Main Street south of 45th, in the punjabi area. They have a very particular type with the metal trays w buffets with very soupy curry. It is hit or miss. There is quite a good one 49th that is a Indian Sweet shop, All Indian Sweets, but it too is a buffet so less punchy per curry. Buffet's rarely tastes as well to order. There are one or two indian restaurants on Robson as well. The one on Robson and Seymour, India Gate, is okay. It does the job when you need a quick fix when you're downtown. I find their curry has good flavour but it's rather oily and not spicy enough. As well, they serve it on the plate with the rice insteas of those little metal dishes separate the curry from the rice. I guess that's not a big deal except as an indication of compromises made to the previously, 'occidentally' dominated Vancouver population. At the same time, I do appreciate that they don't charge you for the rice as well. I was particularly annoyed to find that as a trend when I first moved here. Chinese, Korean and Indian places a like. Steamed or Pilau is an extra. WTF? So the first time I had takeaway at India Gate a few years ago and opened the boxes to find each had rice, I was slightly miffed and pleased. I didn't have to order rice. The box was crowding the room for more curry :^0.

There are other one offs, like on Robson near Thurlow. Your typical bland india buffets full of frozen mixed veg curries. I've been to two down there and been disappointed. I'm not a fuss pot. Even your diviest, greasy spoon 'looking' places on Brick Lane used to serve the most authentic, deep flavoured foods on plastic trays. YUM.

So for your good stuff, in Vancouver, you're going to have to pay and likely get in a car. My favourites are Mauyra's, Vij's and Rangoli.

Vij and Rangoli are owned and run by the same man, Vikram Vij and the fare is more fusion and modern than pure Indian but the flavours are authentic and the quality unbelievable.

I won a gift certificate to Rangoli a few months ago to Rangoli. Woohoo. It was for four but since we couldn't coordinate a good time to do much all summer, I was able to get the restaurant to allow us to have two dinners for two. Woohoo.

Vijs Rangoli
1488 11th Avenue West
Vancouver, BC V6H 1L1
(604) 736-5711

(4.5 really)

Rangoli on Urbanspoon

As, a starter D had Lamb, Beef and Lentil Kebabs. I had Paneer layered with Tomatoes and Red sauteed onions (the onions were not red but I think they used sweet because thankfully, the did not have the harsh bite of yellow you sometimes get on top of cheap indian buffet salads). The portions are slighly larger than a typical appetiser. They're actually called 'Snacks' to share. D felt like meat and so we did not share :-). They were both very good and nicely seasoned. They warned us and offered to bring out Raita (Yogurt) if it were too spicy. I didn't need it.

As a main, D had Goat and Jackfruit curry with Coconut Cabbage Salad and Rice w some Naan. I had Spiced and Marinated Tilapia in Yogurt Curry with Vegetable Rice and some naan. Mine was a tad salty but over all the dish was great. The fish was delicately cooked and naan was wonderful. The last time we came to Vij a few months ago, the naan was disappointing. It is back where I had remembered it earlier. Bigger, fluffy and hot! That is one thing I need to call out. The temperature of the food was spectacular. It was piping and was piping all throughout eating it, even though we were out on a patio. They came in their own little dishes as they should. Indian food served this way is deceptively small seeming. Perhaps that's why some decide not to do it. But it fills you up. I had to take some of D's rice to soak up all my yummy yogurt sauce.

For dessert, D had Coconut pudding with fresh fruit. Very light, cool and perfect for an end to a spicy meal. I had the Meeti Roti. It is Chapati (light indian flat bread, delicate and the size of a tea cup saucer) stuffed with cashews, demerera sugar on custard. It was unbelievable. The most interesting dessert I've had in indian. Yet, full of typical ingredients. Wonderful!

We had a carafe of Blue Mountain Gamay Noir.

I highly recommend you go. It is right next door to Vij. It normally looks crowded. More often than not, the crowd is for Vij. No reservations at either but Vij's is very popular. They let you order drinks and sit outside. If you don't like lines, Rangoli has a 'market' or fridges in their open cafe with takehome packages of all the currys at Vij's and Rangoli's.

1 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, desperately trying to find a 'curry house' that replicates what you get in England