By Sherman Chan,
Special to The Post
You’ll need sunglasses when you visit Vikram Vij’s newest restaurant, My Shanti, located in South Surrey. The silver building reflects the sun’s rays, while inside, the purple-red interior is lush and ornate.
I visited My Shanti during a media preview recently. We started several appetizers. The Udiapuri chaat with eggplant, spinach and sweet potato was an exploration in starchy, leafy and crunchy textures. There was a good lingering heat that complimented the spices. Next, we had Bombay’s Chattpatti Squid served atop appam. Buttery soft and tender, the squid still maintained a meatiness and chew. The masala was spicy in layers, finishing off with a lingering punch.
The Goan Oyster Pakoras with spicy green chili crème fraîche was very nice. With just one bite, there was no doubting the taste of the sea without being fishy. The oysters were buttery and coated with a light crispy batter, although I found it to be quite greasy. The chili crème fraîche was creamy with a slight tang and spice.
Next, we were served Chhatra Sagar’s Baby Eggplants with mango powder and chilies. These cute little eggplants were tender while staying intact. Again, there was a noticeable spice level accented by a tart zestiness. Although not in the description, there was the taste of tamarind. The final appetizer we tried was the Mysorian Vegetable Thoran topped with grated roasted coconut included jackfruit and shredded vegetables. The soft mixture was sweet and spicy, and the toasted spices and crunchy coconut topping added aromatics.
Moving onto the mains, we were presented with Calcutta’s Panch Phoran Steamed Fish served on top of a "very mustard gravy." Although tilapia can often be mushy and devoid of texture, the one here was flaky and moist. Underneath, the sauce had a noticeable tang and once again, a purposeful amount of spice that added flavour without overwhelming the fish.
The Hydrabadi Chicken Biryani was served with 3 mistresses. No, we weren't up to a meal of debauchery, rather they were sides of cashew gravy, kachumber salad, and raita. The rice was fluffy with a crust on the sides of the clay pot. There was a slight cinnamon aroma that was addictively fragrant. I particularly liked the cashew gravy as it was sweet and nutty.
As part of the kitchen tour, we were served fresh Naan from the tandoor. Fluffy, light, chewy and slightly crisp, the Naan were very good and much better than the ones I've had at Vij's in the past.
Our last savoury dish was Banglore’s Goat Curry with cassava. The spiciness was quite apparent, but it wasn't burn-my-tongue-off hot. Instead, the spices add another layer of flavour where notes of coriander and cumin come through. The goat itself was tender while the cassava added a starchy texture.
We ended the meal with two desserts: Almond and Pistachio Fudge atop coconut cream, and Almond Macarons. The soft and slightly grainy fudge was not as sweet as it looked. The real star of the plate was the aromatic coconut cream. The macarons were made of cashews, rather than almond and they were rather chalky. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the tasting at My Shanti. Kudos to Vikram Vij for boldly bringing his food to South Surrey.
Sherman Chan is the #1 ranked food blogger on the Vancouver portal of Urbanspoon.com. Read more of his reviews at www.shermansfoodadventures.com.
15869 Croydon Driv, South Surrey
• Interesting and tasty offerings
• Nice spot offering something different in terms of food and decor
• Modest portion sizes