Having lived in London for a year and having a bit of a love affair with the nation and one of the nationals for some time helped to teach me to me appreciate a good Curry.
Coming back to Canada made me appreciate it a heck of a lot more.
It’s not that we don’t HAVE Indian restaurants but they don’t have the same feel or have the same gastronomic tendencies of those lovely restaurants that exist EVERYWHERE in the UK (this is in my experience although I’m pretty sure I didn’t see an Indian restaurant in the Yorkshire Dales/Lake District and that the distance/time makes the heart grow fonder). That being said I have made it a goal to find great curry restaurants in Calgary and I have been to a few and found that I have enjoyed most although parts of the meal maybe less than others.
A couple weeks ago after an array of directional and logistical errors (on my part) Zac and I found ourselves far away from the restaurant that we wanted to go to (an Indian on 4th called Rajdoot of which I have heard great things) and very close to one of his old standbys that has become one of my new standbys (for lunch), Mango Shiva.
For those of you that don’t know, Mango Shiva does an amazing lunch buffet and it has become my ultimate place to go for comfort food/treats on a bad or busy day at work. The buffet is $14 per person and if you do like me and takeaway you can fill a Styrofoam container for 9$ (it’s amazing how much food I can manage to get in there). That being said I have never been for a proper meal and have enjoyed the thought as I had perused the menu in the past finding it to be quite different from the restaurants I had been to in
Firstly this isn’t what I know to be a traditional curry night out sort of place (the kind that the English tend to go to after a night of drunkenness and debauchery). The décor is beautiful with lovely contemporary colours which drastically go against my memories of the garish colours decorating the walls of the Indian restaurants I have been to in the past. It is intimate and lovely with the open kitchen being the centre of the restaurant.
We started with the Basil and Crab Samosas, to share (as we both weren’t TOO hungry and didn’t want to make this an expensive night), not too long after we ordered a beautifully presented plate with a couple of small triangular samosas and a tossed salad arrived. The Samosas were lovely and reminded me a bit of crab cakes, definitely not in a bad way, definitly not what I was used to but a very lovely starter that set the trend for the rest of the meal.
For mains we decided to get an individual curry bowl each, Zac opted for the the Tikka Masala with a skewer of Chicken and I chose (upon his recommendation) a Kashmiri Curry with a skewer of Lamb. We ordered a side of garlic Naan (yummy, there’s no real reason to discuss this I love Naan in all shapes and sizes and this was very good and very garlicky).
The presentation was beautiful, not that I was surprised following the starter. Again differing from my previous curry/Indian experience instead of the meat being stewed in the sauce they put a skewer of lamb on top of the creamy cashew sauce. The look was very clean and I appreciated the difference and use of colour on the plate, it was quite gorgeous.
The lamb was cooked perfectly and was wonderfully tender; a nicely browned outside with the center being pink, it was gorgeous. The Kashmiri sauce was creamy had a hint of heat but wasn’t over bearing and some chopped almonds scattered over the top added a very nice cruchy texture. Divine and lovely, from what I can tell Zac enjoyed his Chicken Tikka Masala as well; it was quickly and entirely devoured.
Zac opted to finish his meal with a Chai Tea from the Chai Bar they have there, I’ve had them before and can vouch their loveliness, very good with a lovely flavour of cardamom. I opted for a green tea and decided to try the chocolate samosas for dessert. While I like the idea and loved the presentation it wasn’t necessarily my most favourite dish, effectively this was a smaller version of a chocolate croissant with more chocolate and flakier pastry. Of course if you put another in front of me I wouldn’t say no, but it was lacking in substance, perhaps if they had let the samosas cool and served them with a warm dipping sauce I would have appreciated it more.
All in all it was a fantastic meal and the service was wonderful, it was never intrusive but friendly enough to make use feel welcome and put us at ease, something that has been lacking in our dining experience as of late (I blame the labour shortage, bad side of the boom :P).
Coming next is my review of Globefish Sushi and Towa sushi (we got into a sushi mood on Valentines day), The Last King of Scotland, some general musings on relationships, making cupcakes for Zac’s little bro’s birthday (next week EEP) and possibly a
frantic post on what to wear to a hippy/dreadlocked wedding in the middle of the mountains ( I am thinking hemp based shopping trips and possibly using egg whites to make my hair look all funky and possibly dreadlocked :D)