#15 on the Fifty – Fifty List!
Ever since I met the Vikram Vij, I’ve been dying to eat at his restaurant. A man with such a lovely spirit and clear love of food can’t help but create delicious food.
So after listening to me talk about it, Agent B finally convinced me to stop talking about it and just go.
So for my 51st birthday, I decided that it was going to be my birthday present to myself.
I’d heard that you need to get there early to even hope of getting a table so we showed up at 5:15 pm for the 5:30 opening. (Agent B would be appalled at the early hour)!
It was a lovely Sunday evening and after a day of lounging about, I was very relaxed and happy. Of course there were people already waiting but not the throngs I had heard about.
I was almost giddy with anticipation. I had gone over the menu on-line over and over trying to decide what I’d try first.
A Step Above
The time arrived, the doors opened and we were shown to a table. Right from the start it was clear this was a restaurant of a better class. Servers came to our tables offering us small bites of pakoras or chat.
Having tried chai tea before, I wasn’t a huge fan but took the cup offered to me. It was very tasty. Clearly I had been making the stuff completely wrong because my chai never tasted anything like this.
Not just one server, several. There were more staff than I’ve seen in a restaurant in a long time. No one was harried or stressed. Everything ran with a sense of calm.
The chefs, all women, worked calmly and quietly, putting one dish after another through the pass. There was no shouting or angry words, just quiet calm of people who know what they’re doing.
So it begins…
To start we tried the mutton kebabs with the Bengali spice. I’d made this very same recipe from Vij’s cookbook and it turned out perfectly. To taste the same dish prepared by experience hands was wonderful.
Then we had jackfruit with black cardamom and cumin curry plus the special appetizer of 2 spot prawns with coconut kale. The lamb kebabs in Bengali spice curry is a taste sensation that will definitely go on my “favourite” list. The flavours whirled around my tastebuds. There was heat, but not overwhelming.
The Main Event
Scanning the menu, we tried to choose items that were different from one another. That done, with great anticipation we waited for their arrival. I took a look around the restaurant at about 6:15 p.m. and the place was full.
First to arrive was the braised beef shortribs with jelly beans. Junior ordered it because the thought of jelly beans with shortribs fascinated him. Naturally we had to try the lamb popsicles with fenugreek cream curry since it’s Vij’s signature dish. There was also pork tenderloin in a tangy cayenne and ginger curry.
I absolutely loved the tangy cayenne and ginger curry. It simply made my taste buds sing! For me the meats, while perfectly grilled, were extraneous to the taste sensations of the curries. All three were had very distinct flavours, each different from the other in surprising ways. It was wonderful. Right down to the cumin scented rice. It was simply wonderful.
Just before dessert arrives, I paused to look around. It was about 7:00 p.m. we were one of only a few tables left. Obviously some people come often enough that the need to linger is no longer there.
All is Calm
As we walked back to the car, I felt full and calm. It didn’t matter that junior had been annoying all day or that my husband had begrudgingly come along just to keep me “happy”. The glorious tastes and sensations of all those lovely spices and flavours had taken all that away. The food and the restaurant had met my expectations.
A splendid end to my 50th birthday year-long celebration.
Here’s a link to Vij’s website, take a look at the photos.