Friday, June 29, 2012

Vancouver - VIJ's Restaurant

Using Aeromiles to pay for your flight means big savings but also inconvenient flight times.  Having a 7am flight back to Toronto, it did not seem to make sense to pay for accommodations for just a few hours of sleep.  We decided to make a late last night of our vacation and then wait out the rest of the time in the airport.  This made it the perfect opportunity to try out VIJs, the hot, high end Indian restaurant in Vancouver that is notorious for long wait times and not accepting reservations.  Carefully timing our journey back from Seattle via the Chuckanut Drive, we arrived at VIJs just after 8:30pm.  The hostess told us apologetically that it would probably be a 1.5 hour wait.  "No problem, we have all night" we said, meaning it literally.

A long wait at VIJs is not as onerous as it may sound.  You are invited to relax in the bar/lounge area where you can order drinks and sit and chat.  While you are waiting, servers come by repeatedly to offer free samplings including pieces of flat bread, samosas and other treats.  You are also offered the menu to peruse so that you'll know what you want by the time you sit down... smart way to maximize table turnover in order to seat the never ending lineup of people.

We ended up being seated just before 10pm and watched while people continued to arrive even as we left over an hour later.  For appetizers, we settled on spicy pork belly with apple/mint chutney served on a soup spoon, marinated and grilled mackerel with orange spiced onions and my favourite garam masala sauteed portobello mushrooms in porcini cream curry.  Even if it did not have my food passion (mushrooms) in it, the flavour of this curry would have made it tops on my list.

Then came the mains which were wine marinated lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry on turmeric and spinach potatoes and spicy duck breast with ground fennel seed curry.  The duck was good but the lamb was worth fighting over with its tender meat and amazing sauce.

I'm not fond of Asian desserts so luckily I was too full to crave any.  But Rich went for the rice pudding which he thoroughly enjoyed.  This made for a wonderful final meal to end our trip on.

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