Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Flavour of India


India obviously has many flavours, at least as many as Indian restaurants in Vancouver- a true multitude. The Flavour of India was an old favourite in North Van, particularly when we lived around the corner from it. A year or so ago, I noticed an ad for The Flavour of India in the local North Shore newspaper, informing its fans that it had a new chef, from an upscale Fusion place in Bombay, and a new menu to go with the new owners. And truly fusion it was. What could be more Greek than Calamari? But it magically morphs into exquisite Indian cuisine, with a subtle pantheon of flavours that enchant the happy person who orders it. I've also enjoyed the eggplant. But both of these fine dishes seem to taste differently every time I eat them here. Not a bad thing, but somewhat confusing.
Visitors from Japan and our regular restaurant companion Steph joined us for a fine meal last night. I celebrated with a new dish- an amazingly refreshing cucumber and pineapple salad, which I really needed to put out the fire of Fumiyo's eggplant. Yes, the same eggplant I'd loved here before, but Fumiyo ordered it "Medium Spicy" which to my pallette is like being served The Sun. She was quite happy with it, as she was with her Dal and Rice, though she would have preferred yellow lentils. Her old student Eichi ordered Tamarind Prawns with maximum heat, and found them incendiary indeed. Eichi's mother enjoyed her prawns at a somewhat lower termperature but I tried neither of them, fond as I am of prawns. Steph pronounced her butter chicken "average," quite different from when she last ate butter chicken here.
I dived into my highly scenic calamari, mixed superbly with chunks of red and green pepper and topped with slivers of ginger and parseley with such a long stem it seemed to demand being put in a vase. The cuke salad was a most welcome refreshment as well as the perfect combination to the calamari which even without the superb salad tasted differently than when I'd had it before. A particularly intriguing aftertaste. I felt like Sherlock Holmes in India, trying to decipher what it was. Stuffed as I was from Fumiyo's Gyoza I had filled up on for lunch, I couldn't eat much of my meal, and discover to my delight that it tastes just as good as leftovers today.

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