If you have ever checked Urbanspoon's "talk of the town" list of restaurants, you'll normally find new or popular places. Well, after you read this post; you'll probably find East is East at #1 shortly. The reason? Well, when you get a large number of food bloggers all together in one spot for dinner, it'll make any restaurants' numbers soar. So a simple suggestion for a dinner meetup suddenly became quite the production. The following people were in attendance:
Angie (Sea Salt with Food), Anita (La Petite Foodie), Darina (Gratinee), Jenny (My Secret Eden), Jessica (Yum-O-Rama), Jonathan (Food & Tell), Joyce & Frank (Van Foodies), Kevin (604 Foodtography), Kim (I'm Only Here for the Food), Melody (Gourmet Fury), Mijune (Follow Me Foodie), TS (eating_club [Vancouver]), Victoria (Victoria's Food Secrets) and Wilson (La Petite Vancouver).
Yah, that's a lot of people. And yes, that is quite a few cameras as well. I'm not sure what the people around us thought. At the very least, no one felt shy about taking pictures! At my table, we all decided to order all the different dishes available for the Eastern Plate (which consists of Dahl Soup, Afghan & Coconut Rice, Salad & Roti). The first 2 were the Lamb Kebob and Chicken Masala. I found that the lamb was a bit dry and a bit bland. I did notice the ginger, onion and garlic hits within the sauce; but it was not exactly savory. I really enjoyed the chicken, it was moist with a smooth and creamy sauce. Next up was the Peas & Cheese and Alu Gobi. I liked the texture of the peas & cheese (which also consisted of potatoes). Again, I thought it was a bit mild; but that is understandable since this dish is not supposed to be super spicy. The Alu Gobi (cauliflower & potato) was a bit more tomatoey than I'm used to; but it was good nonetheless. It was aromatic and a bit tangy at the same time.
All of us agreed that the salmon was a bit hidden by the sauce. As Frank noted, it could've been any fish. With that being said, I didn't dislike it and I actually found the salmon to have a nice sweet aftertaste. Despite a relatively flavorful sauce that was had a nice rich onion flavour, I wasn't a huge fan of the minced beef. It's a personal taste thing really, I didn't like the one at Saffron either. Something about the mushy texture... The next couple of dishes is where we went vegetarian. That's okay, I do eat vegetables sometimes. The Saag Paneer was smooth, mild and creamy. It starts off with a strong spinach flavour and ends with earthy mushroom aromatics at the end. My favourite dish was the Afghan Eggplant. The eggplant pieces were tender and there was a nice tang from the sundried tomatoes.
The last 2 dishes were the Mango Butternut Squash and the Chickpeas. Seemingly a simple dish, the squash was a bit more complex than it looked. In addition to the mango's natural sweetness, there were hints of curry and coconut. I could ate a whole big bowl of this. Other than humus, I'm not a big fan of chickpeas; but this version was not too bad. The sauce was on the sweet side with a nice herb aftertaste. All-in-all, the food may not have the "power" of more authentic places; but honestly, the food was pretty good. If you factor in that refills are complimentary, you have one heck of a value.
- Quite the variety
- Unique decor and style
- Good value
- Could upset the "authentic" police
- Flavours are more on the safe side