Vij’s is the brainchild of one of Canada’s most acclaimed chefs, Vikram Vij and his wife Meeru Dhalwala. What makes Vij’s unique is that they serve up Indian inspired fusion cuisine. If you’re expecting traditional Indian fare, this is not the restaurant for it. With his European culinary training, Chef Vij and his wife have taken traditional recipes and put a modern twist to it. Vij’s has been one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver since I tried it for the first time several years ago. However, I don’t get to go often because they don’t take reservations and there are always crazy long line ups. In order for me to go, it means that I have to plan ahead to make sure I get there about half an hour before they open to ensure I get in for the first seating so at least that way the wait is only half an hour. On this recent visit to Vancouver back in June, I decided to head to Vij’s again as I’d not been in a while. This time I got there at 4:45 (they open at 5:30) and managed to be first in line.
Once seated, we were served complimentary chai tea. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of chai tea but the version at Vij’s is just perfect and I can’t get enough of it. The great thing is that they provide complimentary refills of the chai throughout the meal. Also, if you want to attempt to replicate this chai at home, you can go next door to their sister restaurant, Rangoli, to buy their Chai masala blend of cardamom and fennel.
While waiting for our meal, we were served complimentary hors d’oeuvres such as cassava fries, potato puris, and pakoras. These snacks were a great way to tie us over until our food arrived.
We started off sharing two appetizers. The first was the Eggplant with Rapini ($13.50). It was served in a thick garlic-yogurt curry. This was a dish that we hadn’t tried before as their menu changes seasonally. It was delicious and I really enjoyed the bright flavours of the garlic-yogurt curry.
The second appetizer was the Garam Masala Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms in Porcini Cream Curry ($13.50). This is actually one of my favourite dishes at Vij’s. My friend C and I order it every time we go as this dish seems to be on the menu permanently. The sautéed portobello mushrooms really had that wow factor. They were really juicy and flavourful and the porcini cream curry was heavenly.
For our main, we shared the famous Wine-Marinated Lamb Popsicles in Fenugreek Cream Curry ($29.75). It was served on turmeric and spinach potatoes. This is one of the signature dishes at Vij’s and is a must try item. The lamb pieces are perfectly cooked to medium rare. Each piece is juicy and succulent. The flavours in the fenugreek cream curry are just amazing. The sauce is just like liquid gold to us and we use the rice and naan to sop up every last drop.
The dishes are served with complimentary naan and rice. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of their naan as I find it to be a bit more doughy and not as fluffy as I would have preferred. However, it’s not a big deal to me as I use it as more of a vehicle to consume all the yummy sauces.
To me, Vij’s is totally worthy of the hype and also worth the wait in line. For the most part, the dishes have been spot on time and time again on every visit. For me, the must order dishes are the Garam Masala Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms in Porcini Cream Curry and Wine-Marinated Lamb Popsicles in Fenugreek Cream Curry. Since the dishes are served family style and the portions are pretty generous, it is best to each order different dishes and share so you can sample more the menu.
1480 W 11th Ave