Hot Food, Bright Lights
a Quick Bite
By Daniel Fishman
Eat Vancouver writer
Pam’s recent visit to Vancouver provided me with a great chance to try a few new restaurants, and the great weather allowed us to range freely in the downtown area. Although we didn’t stray far for our first couple reviews (Café Burrard St. Deli and Pam’s recapitulation of the disaster that is Vera’s [coming soon]), we decided that rather than go to India Bistro again (though we like it), we would head over to Robson and look for an Indian restaurant there. After walking the Robson blocks we decided on Indian Flavors, which is found on the second floor toward the West end of the shopping area. Although the neon lights were a little troubling, the menu looked good.
The dining room at Indian Flavours is actually quite nice, with a delightful water feature, and nice tables and some booths overlooking Robson. Two things could infinitely improve the experience however; they really need to take the plastic wrap off the chairs, and they NEED to get rid of the neon lights around the windows, which really ruin the atmosphere of the booths.
We were served by the very friendly Goga, who provided the kind of attentive but not overbearing service that is all too rare, although I have had the fortune of experiencing it a lot lately. Is the service in this town getting better? We were served papadum and a delicious mint chutney before our meal. Pam ordered the Chicken Vindaloo, medium spicy, while I went for the Karahai Chicken, hot, a dish I was not familiar with but which the menu said was made with “green chili and exotic.” How could I resist that? We also split an order of rice and a garlic naan.
Both of our main courses were excellent, with wonderful color and flavor. I am not sure exactly how to describe the Karahai Chicken, to me it was like a lot of Indian dishes I have had but with a bit more complexity and depth of flavor, perhaps from the green chilies. Although at first I thought it wasn’t all that spicy, the heat snuck up on me and I found my self pounding the waters that Goga so helpfully made sure was always there. I like spicy food, and I thought this was just about perfect, stopping short of being painful, although I imagine some might like it even hotter. Pam’s Vindaloo was rich and also had very deep flavor, with the medium heat being quite pleasing. The serving sizes were also just about perfect, leaving us full and with enough for sharing. The naan and rice were the perfect accompaniment to the meal. When the bill came, I was stunned; all that delicious food came in under $30!
All in all, Indian Flavours provided the combination of quality and value that I look for in a restaurant, along with great service in a comfortable environment. Now if they will only get rid of those neon lights…