Sherman's Food Adventures: VEDA Bistro

VEDA Bistro

*Restaurant is not closed*
We all know the "F" word.  It's both vulgar and contentious.  No, I'm not talking about that word, rather I'm referring the other "F" word - Fusion.  Ah yes, the combination of 2 or more types of cuisine into one dish - exciting to some while completely taboo to others.  Personally, if something tastes good, I don't really give a flying rat's arse what and who made it.  Except if there is actually rat in the dish...  Consider this, many Vietnamese dishes are the result of French influences.  You don't see many people complaining about a great Pho or Banh Mi.  So with that mindset, I set off to my latest restaurant invite to VEDA Bistro out in Langley.

With a modern and "fine dining" twist to Northern Indian food, VEDA Bistro boldly tries to make it work in heart of Langley.  Viv and I were treated to a feast which began with the Kebab Sampler consisting of lamb, prawns and chicken.  All of the proteins were well-prepared with the lamb being moist with hits of cumin, onion and garlic.  The prawns had a nice char and were naturally sweet with a beautiful snap.  The chicken was sufficiently tender with a noticeable sweetness and only a hint of spice.  Next up was the Stone Kebab consisting of clove-smoked filets of beef topped with a ginger marmalade.  Although beef was tenderized via pounding and charred nicely, it was rather tough.  On the other hand, the ginger marmalade added a impactful sweetness and pop.  Despite looking merely like a garnish, the cheese crisp helped balance the sweetness.

Our last appie was the Mahi Fish Tikka which was prepared in a yogurt marinade encased in phyllo pastry. The fish was firm, yet flaky at the same time.  Although the fish itself was not seasoned enough, the pineapple chutney more than made up for it.  Most of the phyllo was crispy except for the bottom as it got soft from the moisture of the fish.  All 3 appies came with coleslaw which was crunchy, fresh with a nice spice level and zing (in a Dijon kind of way).  The streak of mango coulis was not merely there for colour as it had a kick with a big hit of cumin.  Next, we tried the Aromatic Chicken Soup consisting of organic chicken, ginger and herbs.  The soup was really flavourful bordering on salty, but the finish was nice.  The caramelized onions on top added a level of sweetness that complimented the light creamy broth.

We were served a Vegetable Biryani to accompany the main courses.  It was prepared with fresh vegetables with saffron infused spiced rice.  The use of fresh veggies really showed as there was natural textures and flavours.  The rice was firm and had a mild hit of saffron with a decent spice level.  The fresh ginger and caramelized onions added more layers of flavour to the rice.  Arriving in a large basket, we got 3 types of Naan, including garlic, sesame and regular.  All of them had a browned crispy underside while being soft and chewy throughout.  The garlic naan was aromatic on its own, as well as the sesame version.

For the purposes of trying as many different dishes as possible, we got smaller portions of Fish Curry, Lamb Curry, Butter Chicken and Palak Paneer.  The fish was flaky and moist while bathed in a gingery and spicy curry which resulted in a lingering aftertaste.  The lamb was a touch chewy where the curry had depth with hits of onion, cumin and spice.  Being prepared with fresh tomatoes, the butter chicken was predictably lighter and fresher tasting.  It was still mildly creamy with tender morsels of chicken.  With large chunks of tender cheese, the palak paneer was rich, creamy and vibrant.  Again, it was prepared with fresh spinach rather than the frozen variety.

As if we needed anymore food, we were presented with the BBQ Crockpot Bison Short Ribs served with purple potatoes.  We liked how the braising liquid was mild, yet exhibiting a wealth of flavours at the same time.  We picked out cinnamon and cloves.  The rib itself was braised until fork tender.  Our last entree was the Tandoori Lamb Chops marinated in merlot and served with fenugreek cream sauce.  Now if this sounds familiar, you might make the connection with Vij's.  And I will boldly say that this version would give it a run for its money. Not exactly the same, but good in its own right with super tender lamb chops with a nice acidic hit from the wine while balanced out with the smooth mild sauce.

We finished off our meal with 2 desserts including Gulab Jamun and Pisatchio Kulfi Falooda.  Surprisingly, the gulab jamun was not crazy sweet, but the sauce made up for that being rich and sugary.  The falooda was constructed with rich ice cream, pistachios and basil seeds.  This was a texturally smooth dessert with only mild sweetness.  The ice cream was indeed rich, but a touch icy.  Suffice to say, we didn't finish all this food, but it did give a good overview of what VEDA bistro is about.  We found most of the dishes (the fusion and traditional) to be well-prepared, except for one (the Stone Kebab).  With that in mind, VEDA succeeds in bringing something different to the table in terms of Indian food in Langley.

The Good:
- Something different and interesting
- Open and comfortable dining space
- Reasonable pricing

The Bad:
- As with any fusion cuisine, everyone will have a differing opinion

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