Rangoli offers unique dishes and veggie options

Rangoli is an Indian food restoraunt located just off South Granville in Vancouver. It is a cheaper and more casual counterpart to Vij’s, located right next door and owned by the same couple. You may not get the free nibbles and chai tea at Rangoli, but you also do without the bigger price tags and eat in a more casual atmosphere. The location isn't grubby, quirky or even that cool, and you won't see everyone you know there. It's just great Indian food, at reasonable prices.

They don't serve what you'd expect of a typical Indian restaurant so there's no tandoori oven, no multi-coloured rice, no korma and definitely no fries as a side option. And for me, that's a good thing!

The menu at both restaurants changes seasonally, depending on what ingredients are available locally. The chefs decide what’s going to taste the best according to the season, so the ingredients change, but they are always cooked using Indian spices and cooking techniques. It begs the question, why do other places have such stuck menus when in-season produce is cheaper and tastier? Vij's and Rangoli are submerged within the community they call home, and the employees work closely with local farmers, wine makers, brewers and artists. This seems like a really key part of why the food tastes so good, and why the place itself feels special.
All of the chefs are female, Punjabi and vegetarian, which probably has something to do with the extensive range of veggie dishes. Vegetarian dishes are a very prominent part of the menu, which makes a nice change from the choice at your average Indian restaurant. In fact, most people in India can rarely afford to, or choose not to eat meat, so the flavours and tastes of a vegetarian Indian dish are more true to the culture it comes from.

My particular dish of choice a last week at Rangoli was the yam, green onion and garlic curry, with mushroom and brown basmati rice pilaf and spicy cauliflower.

The portions aren't huge, but what you get is very well presented and more importantly, really tasty. The yam curry was flavoursome and succulent, and really complemented the side of spicy cauliflower. The mushroom rice was served to calm the palette, and tasted ridiculously good considering its simplicity. The spices were not overpowering, and from my experience nothing on the menu is seasoned to be overly spicy just for the sake of it. Others at my table enjoyed an equally satisfying meal before we went on to share a dessert.

The perfect sweet to share at Rangoli is the meeti roti, custard on chapatti filled with demerara sugar and cashews. The chapatti is cut into slices so you can just taste a bit or indulge in a whole plate. The finishing touch is a garnish of mint that sets off all the flavours and contrasts with the sweetness of the dish.

All in all, the atmosphere in Rangoli was great, the food was delicious and although it's not your cheapest option, I think the quality of the food is worth the little bit extra. 

//Heather Welsh

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