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Clocking in at two hours, this was certainly the longest I have ever waited at a restaurant. Was the food good? Yes. Was it worth the two hour wait? No.

Waiting for a table with our drinks - a ginger lemon drink and an Indian mojito

There were five of us this evening and we arrived around 6:45 on a Monday to find a huge crowd outside. I guess our mistake was not coming right before it opened at 5:30. I knew we were in for a wait, but I didn’t think it would be two hours long. The host informed us the wait would be at least an hour, so we put our name down and took a stroll around the neighborhood.

An hour later, we arrived back at Vij’s and had a seat on their patio outside. It was a nice little area which was more like an outdoor lounge. I think all the customers waiting for a table really appreciated the complimentary snacks that the servers kept bringing around to keep us happy. The kitchen was churning them out and I ended up eating so many of the snacks I wasn’t even too hungry by the time we were seated. There was a wide variety of the complimentary snacks but my favourites were the parsnip fries and chickpea fritters.

Samosas

While waiting outside, I ordered an Indian Mojito – with mango, lychee, vodka and star anise ($9.50). I didn’t enjoy this drink very much. It tasted too strongly of lychee… bringing me back to a bad experience I had with Soho once. Luckily Mike enjoyed it and finished it off for me. I enjoyed his drink better – the Ginger-lemon drink ­($5.50).

Known as #1 for fine dining according to Urbanspoon, I was surprised by the décor inside the restaurant. I guess the right word would be unimpressed. The walls were all dark and the lighting was dim… it just didn’t have a great feel to it. I feel like this place could really use some sprucing up.

We ordered two appetizers for the five of us to share. The first was the Samosas – filled with lamb and beef sautéed in fennel, cloves and sumac ($13). The samosas were served on top of a tomato based curry with a side of goat cheese (I think!). The samosas were crispy and the filling was seasoned very well. Even though I can’t take extremely spicy foods, I felt like the samosas were lacking a bit of kick.

Mutton Kebobs

Since you get unlimited naan at Vij’s, we used it to soak up the rest of the curry which accompanied this dish. Delicious! I really enjoyed the naan here but you need to eat it quickly after they serve it to you. Once it gets cold, it gets a little hard and tough, so it doesn’t soak up the sauces as well.

Since the appetizer only comes with two samosas, the server recommended us adding a third. This ended up costing us an extra $6.75.  So, three samosas for nearly $20 before tax. They were good, but not $20 good!

The other appetizer we ordered was the Mutton Kebobs – with Bengali style curry ($13). Presentation-wise, they didn’t look all too appetizing, so I was surprised by how amazing these tasted. They were extremely flavourful and didn’t even really need the curry that it was served with. The curry had a bit of a kick to it and I actually preferred this curry over the one served with the samosas. A must-order dish!

Wine Marinated Lamb Popsicles

For my main, I decided to go with the famous Wine Marinated Lamb Popsicles – in fenugreek cream curry on turmeric and spinach potatoes ($27). Three of us at the table actually ended up ordering this. When it was first served, I was surprised by how large the portion was. It was served in a large shallow bowl and came with five “lamb popsicles”.

The lamb was incredibly tender and flavourful from the marinade. You could see the grill marks on the lamb, which added an extra layer of flavour to it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the curry. It was rich, creamy and had a strange flavour to it. I’ve never had fenugreek before, so I suspect it was the fenugreek flavour I wasn’t a huge fan of. Luckily the lamb was great on its own. The lamb also came with spinach and potatoes which were delicious.

Lemon-ghee marinated and grilled chicken

Mike went with the Lemon-ghee Marinated and Grilled Organic Chicken Breast and Thigh – with roasted garlic and cashews and tangy tomato curry ($28). I didn’t think I would enjoy this dish because I’m not a huge fan of lemon or chicken breast, but this was easily my favourite dish of the evening. I never order chicken breast because it’s often quite dry but this was very moist and tender. I couldn’t really taste the lemon in the chicken (which was a great thing for me) and the flavour of the curry was delicious. It was a little tangy and the cashews gave it a nice bit of crunch to it. Usually Mike is the one finishing off my meal, but this time I cleaned off his plate for him with the unlimited naan. Simply delicious!

The other entree that was ordered was the Tamarind Marinated Rib Eye – with mango puree and roasted bell pepper chutney ($28). I only had a bite of it and enjoyed it. But since I only tried it after trying the chicken dish, everything else just paled in comparison.

Tamarind marinated rib eye

The entrees here come in pretty large portions and since they’re pretty heavy curries, we didn’t even consider ordering dessert. If you’re worried about the food being too spicy, you have nothing to worry about at Vij’s. All the curries are very mild so you won’t leave the restaurant with your mouth on fire.

The service was great here. Our server provided us with helpful recommendations and seemed very calm and relaxed throughout the evening despite the large crowd of people still waiting to be seated.

I agree with most people’s sentiments that the food here is pretty good. I was blown away by the mutton kebob and the lemon-ghee marinated chicken. Everything else was good but for a two hour wait wouldn’t you want to be blown away by every dish?

Unlimited naan & rice

At a glance:

  • No reservations; long waits
  • Higher-end Indian fare (won’t find butter chicken here)
  • Must order the mutton kebabs and lemon-ghee marinated chicken
  • Ratings (out of 5):

  • Food: 4 stars
  • Service: 4 stars
  • Atmosphere: 3 stars
  • Vij's on Urbanspoon



    1. Brad (Reply) on Wednesday 31, 2011

      Wow, this is really detailed and balanced. The lamb popsicles were delicious. This makes me wish I lived in Vancouver, so I could take advantage of your other reviews.

      • Jess (Reply) on Wednesday 31, 2011

        Haha, Toronto is where it’s at now… let me know when you’ll be in town again and we’ll have a feast :)