When it comes to eating out, I do not think I am any different than most when I say there are definitely certain cuisines or culinary genres that I wish I could try more often. Even living in an amazing food city like Vancouver, I sometimes find myself eating the same types of food at the same types of restaurants each week. When the awesome gents at VANEATS.ca approached Eating in Vancouver & the World to preview their upcoming dining pass at Maurya’s Indian Cuisine, I was ecstatic for two reasons: 1) I had never actually been to Maurya but had heard good things and 2) It had been far too long since I had eaten authentic Indian curry. After confirming with the super friendly manager, I was off to Maurya’s to preview the new pass coming out July 4th.
A. Garlic and Basil Naan – Indian leavened bread flavoured with chopped garlic and basil
B. Mixed greens & beets salad, lightly tossed with vinaigrette
C. Seekh Kebab – minced lamb mixed with spices & skewed in charcoal oven
D. Mixed Vegetables – seasoned and pan fried broccoli, bell peppers, green beans, zucchini
E. Chicken Chettinad – Marinated chicken in South Indian chettinad paste of coconut and poppy seeds – 2009 Dine Out Vancouver Award Winner!
F. Daal Maurya – Maurya’s Pride! Black lentils cooked overnight. A real accompaniment to an Indian meal
Unlike my previous VANEATS.ca dinners where dishes came one by one, I was surprised to see the entire meal served at the same time! This actually worked out very well because I felt like the entire meal was designed to be eaten together. Truthfully, I cannot remember what I tried first as I found myself scooping and dipping things simultaneously in a hungered frenzy but to lend this article some structural integrity, I’ll go through the meal systematically.
First off, the basket of naan bread. I must say that although naan seems quite simple, not many Indian places in Vancouver actually get it right. What I loved about Maurya’s naan bread was that it was served perfectly hot but not dry, thin but still full of flavor. The bread was simultaneously crispy along the outer edge but still warm and slightly chewy inside. The garlic and basil were definitely present but not overwhelming. I felt the garlic and basil naan actually was even more effective than plain naan in realizing the two curries served alongside it. Overall, the basket was so good I sincerely do not think diners will notice how quickly it will empty!
Three of the next dishes were served together in a single three sample presentation. First off, the dominant dish was center stage in the seekh kebab. I was expecting these two cuts of sausage like meat to be spicy for some reason but they had a much deeper, smokier flavor than say a typical lamb sausage. The minced lamb was very fine but compacted into a very solid link which was served in two parts. The smokiness of the charcoal definitely permeated the meat as well which assumed a fantastic aroma. The two supporting dishes were the mixed greens/beet salad and the mixed, pan fried veggies. I felt these two offerings were very intelligently included as they served the crucial role of breaking the meal up. When you look at the entire spread from afar, you can see it is actually quite heavy with the curries and meats. These two veggie based dishes were vital in providing some alternate respite to the meal and letting the diner ‘rest’ a bit before progressing to the next meat based dish. Both were very refreshing and served their respective roles quite well.
The last two dishes were both curry-based: a chicken chettinad and a Daal curry. Now, a common misconception among those not familiar with Indian cuisine is that all curries taste the same. Why I love the choice of these two very specific curries for this dining experience is that you really see the breadth of what curry is and can be. The chicken chettinad and lentil daal curry are very different dishes but sampled well with the warm naan bread and ultimately collaborated exquisitely. Eaten separately or together, they are both extremely rich, thick curries that will please anyone from novice to sage.
Final thoughts? I do not eat Indian food anywhere near as often as I’d like, which is such a shame as Vancouver actually has quite a few good Indian restaurants. This Maurya’s Spice dining pass encompasses everything I have come to love about Indian cuisine. The flavors are so strong and bold yet not overwhelmingly so which will appeal to a wider demographic here in Vancouver. I felt this dining pass showcases Maurya’s strengths which are its inherent authenticity and adherence to the traditional Indian dining experience. Although western utensils are provided, I am willing to bet that the wonderfully toasted naan bread will be all you will need as you dig into this generously constructed and phenomenally flavorful meal.
If you enjoyed the photos and review above, definitely check out the VANEATS.ca Maurya Indian Cuisine video above to see all the dishes we reviewed. If you have read enough and just want to eat, the “Maurya’s Spice” dining pass will be available for a limited time for only $18 (before HST and gratuity). Head over to VANEATS.ca to buy your pass on July 4th and enjoy!