As you guys know, I am a fan of Vikram Vij. If chefs had groupies, I would be one of Vij's groupies for sure. This weekend, Hubs and I made a quick day trip over to Vancouver to see family, and decided that lunch at Vij's bistro Rangoli was in order. Unfortunately we'd miss dinner at Vij's as we were planning on heading back on the 5pm ferry, but we figure Rangoli would give us a taste of what Vij's would have to offer.
We met up with my inlaws there, and ended up sitting in a covered outdoor patio area with heaters. The day was mild so it was fine, and they provided blankets in case you got a bit chilly. We had to wait a bit for everyone to show up, so we started off with some drinks - Hubs had a mango lassi, and I had a chai tea. The lassi was SO GOOD...really mango-y, thick and refreshing. The chai was good too - not too sweet, and not too overly spicy. Now you'd think that I would have taken photos of this blessed event, right? Since for me, this is like my version of mecca? Totally forgot. I was totally so into the food I forgot about my camera. Sorry fellow foodies...I promise I won't be so forgetful in Hong Kong.
Once everyone got there, we shared some appies - a savory chaat, which was fried wheat chips with yoghourt, potato, a curry sauce and cilantro on top. Super yummy. We also ordered up some pakoras, which were easily the best I'd ever had...light, not greasy in the slightest, and came with a flavourful cilantro sauce. The pakoras also came with a bowl of lentil soup, which was amazing. Thick, packed full of flavour...I'll have to see if the recipe is in either of Vij's cookbooks.
The lunch menu was really diverse - lots of vegetarian options for the veggies out there, and a good selection of chicken, lamb and goat dishes. I had the carmelized onion and lamb curry, while Hubs had the natural chicken and tomato/green bean curry. Both dishes came with either chapati or naan, and a fragrant basmati rice.
I know I sound like a freak, but that was the best curry I've ever had. EVAR. I'm not normally a lamb fan, but I figure if anyone can make lamb properly, it would be Vij...and the food definitely did not disappoint. Tender, not dry at all and not gamey in the slightest. Delish. Hubs' chicken was tasty as well, and everyone really enjoyed their meals. After lunch was over, I zipped into the restaurant to pick up some spices - Vij sells some of his own ground spices, so I picked up a couple of different types of garam masala and a few packages of chai tea spices. The price was incredibly reasonable - $9 for a pretty good sized container. And I figure if anyone would know how to make a good masala, it'd be him.
The only weird thing? The washrooms. Basically there are these two huge doors that are right in the main area, and there's no signs. So all you see is this huge wall with two handles. And it's not off to the back somewhere, but right out in the main area where all the coolers are where the takeout food is sold. A little odd, and I felt weird coming out and practically running into someone perusing the curried chickpeas. The washrooms themselves were kinda cool though...there was a little TV set into the mirror, and it was showing a Bollywood movie, replete with the latest bhangra moves. I love me some bhangra, so I thought it was totally cool.
All in all, a fabulous lunch. Next on the hitlist - Vij's!