Restaurant review: East is East
4433 Main Street, Vancouver | 604-565-4401
• Although exotic sounding, the food is a good introduction for most people
• Feast is a good value
• Food is above-average
• Some artistic interpretation with a few dishes, it might offend those authenticity snobs
Special to The Post
The "thing" to order at East is East is the Silk Route Feast which is essentially an all-you-can-eat menu for $25.00 per person.
We had a choice of soup, salad and carbs for the meal. We ended up with one each of the Mystic Soup and Squash Soup. One sip of the mystic soup and there was a definite lemongrass/ginger hit. It was possibly too strong as it overwhelmed the creamy coconut and mild green curry flavours.
As for the squash soup, it was more like lentil soup as the texture was more hearty than smooth. It had this mulligatawny thing going on which made it complex in flavours.
Now this is where the eating got serious as we started round one with 4 items. I gave the Afghan Eggplant a go first. It consisted of baked eggplant sauteed with herbs, tomato, onion and garlic topped off with yogurt. I found the eggplant to be moist yet not a complete mush. The flavours were a pleasing combination of tartness, spices and the cooling effect from the yogurt.
When we originally ordered the Alu Gobi, they informed us that it was not ready just yet. When it finally arrived, we gave it a try and it was indeed not ready. Both the cauliflower and potato were too firm while the flavours did not mesh with the ingredients.
Moving onto some meat dishes, we had the Lamb Pan Kebab roasted in ginger, onion, tomato, garlic and five spice curry. This was my personal favourite as the lamb was only slightly gamy exhibiting a really nice char.
Our second round consisted of the 2 fish offerings from the menu. The first was the Seasonal Fish which was Basa Thai Curry. By flavours and appearance alone, it looked like a yellow curry. It was creamy and had a nice kick.
The fish itself was cooked just right as it was flaky and moist. However, the Wild Salmon was nothing but. The darn piece of fish was cooked far beyond what it should been. The meat was a dry, chewy mess which was neither appetizing nor really all that edible.
Continuing on, we had the Palak Paneer. This was pretty good and admittedly, better than some Indian restaurants I've been to.
Now onto dessert. We shared 2 of them including the recommended vegan Chocolate Pudding. Predictably, the pudding wasn't exactly smooth. Rather, it was a bit grainy. Yet, at the same time, it wasn't bad either having a rich dark chocolate flavour.
As for the Eastern Ecstasy, it was hands-down our favourite of the two. It consisted of rice pudding, ice cream, a warm galub jamun sprinkled with rosewater, pisatchios and cardamom. The rice pudding itself had a nice texture, but lacked flavour.
However, the ice cream more than made up for it, including the always sweet galub jamun. This dessert had a kulfi flavour to it, especially with the pistachios and cardamom.
In the end, we thought the food was consistent enough to be considered good.
East is East succeeds in being a safe, reasonably-priced restaurant for those who want to venture past regular Western fare in favour of more exotic offerings.