We all know about the lineup that begins to build long before 5:00 at Vij's on 11th in Vancouver. I've been in that situation before, but in my mind, it's worth it. For those who don't get in, its next door neighbour, Rangoli, becomes the backup plan. Well Vij's will be in a new home on Cambie pretty soon while the space-challenged Rangoli will expand into the old space. Since Vij's is not open for lunch, Rangoli becomes the number one option for someone to dine on Vikram Vij's food (other than his food truck and My Shanti out in Surrey).
With that in mind, Sean and I met up for a revisit lunch at Rangoli on a beautiful sunny day. This was the perfect scenario to enjoy the tight patio seating in front. We started things off with the Savoury Chaat with wheat crisps with potatoes, sprouts, chutney & yogurt. We felt this was a substantial portion that ate actually quite heavy. Despite the wet ingredients, the wheat crisps remained crunchy to the end. On top, the chunks of potatoes were soft while still retaining some texture. We could taste a multitude of flavours including mint, coriander and spiciness. Next, we enjoyed the Split Pea, Lentil and Spinach Bharta with mogo fries and Bengali curry. As much as cassava fries can be dense and fibrous, the ones here were crunchy and not overly heavy. The combination of the purposefully spicy curry with the usual hits of cumin, turmeric and ginger was tempered by the smooth and soothing bharta.
Onto our mains, I went for the Portobello Mushroom and Red Bell Pepper Curry on paneer with beet salad & naan first. This was an aromatic and fulfilling dish despite being vegetarian. The meaty and tender mushrooms combined with the crumbly and light paneer which added body to the dish. The light creaminess of the curry as well as the muted spices allowed the mushroom and peppers to stand alone. Now onto something with meat, we had the Lamb in Coconut and Mustard Seed Curry. This was a winner with large chunks of tender and moist lamb. It was bathed in a curry that featured the aromatics of coconut as well as the slight pungency of the mustard seed. This was all balanced out by the usual spices (cumin and coriander) and the creamy coconut milk. As I've mentioned before, I don't understand the hard discs they pass off as naan here and at Vij's next door. The naan at My Shanti is so much better. Despite this, the food at Rangoli didn't disappoint by offering up trademark Vij's food.
- Flavours on point as usual
- Well-prepared eats
- Tight seating
- Crappy naan