Maurya's Fine Indian Cuisine - Kamloops, BC
We decided to play Parking Space Roulette and let the next convenient spot dictate where we eat tonight. I’ve been to Maurya’s Fine Indian Cuisine a number of times, but that was about 3 or 4 years ago driving through town enroute to other destinations. I remember it as being just ok. I recall the take-out experience being way better than the eat-in experience and that's why I haven’t been back in so long.
I think they've spruced up the place since the last time we were here. I don’t remember the colours, artwork and furniture being so…coordinated. And I’m sure the last time I paid, the cash desk was just a calculator right next to the front door.
There always seems to be ample street parking in Kamloops. I appreciate this so much. Also, for a quarter I can purchase a half hour of parking in the meter! No more of these nonsensical 6 minutes per 25 cents meters. It was only an hour before free parking starts, so for a mere 50 cents I had parking for the rest of the evening! Love this. I noticed a couple, from the blue station wagon behind us, decided to forgo feeding the meter. Gasp! I could never do this. That's a game of chance I'd rather not play. They nonchalantly strolled into the alliterated noodle place, a few doors down from Maurya's, swinging a Christmas themed, tissue stuffed gift bag.
Mixed Appetizers ($9.95)
This is a selection of various pakoras. It includes two each of chicken, fish and vegetable pakoras, and one vegetable samosa. It came with the usual chutneys. The breading was light and crunchy on all the pakoras except the fish. The fish is moist and didn’t have that “fishy” aroma to it. I enjoyed the vegetable parkora the most. It is the crunchiest of the selections yet soft in the middle; it also had little bursts of caramelized onion here and there. Tasty. The chicken is adequately moist, but the flavor of only chicken just isn’t as compelling next to the vegetable pakora. Visually, this plate of starters looked a lot more appetizing than some of the other pakoras in town. The deep fried bites seem hand formed. They have a pleasing colour and the pakoras look rustic in shape.
Chutneys and Vegetable samosa
The mint and tamarind chutneys are bright and sharp tasting. The veggie samosa is very good at Maurya's. It is a whopper. Easily shared between two people. Jammed with loads of subtlety spiced vegetables. Although, the tender potatoes didn’t overtake the samosa, it makes its presence known.
Butter Chicken ($13.95)
We’ve eaten Maurya’s butter chicken a number of times before and I really didn’t want to order it again. But since I’ve never taken the time to blog about Maurya’s in the past I needed to get my assessment benchmarks. That is, the butter chicken. So here we go. The chicken breast pieces are very tender and fairly juicy. The base is tangy and tomatoey. Not as tomatoey as Vyanjan's but more tomotoey than Goldie's or Spice. However, it could be creamier. The depth of flavour didn’t seem as complex as Vyanjan's butter chicken, but it’s straight forward, and still very good. Much better than I remember it to be.
Lamb Goa Curry ($14.95)
I normally have a korma as another benchmark to compare and contrast with other places, but I couldn’t do it. I decided instead to do a Lamb Goa. I was surprised at how tender the lamb was. I could easily cut it with my fork. It wasn’t muttony tasting either. The chunks of meat are large and plentiful in the little metal bowl. I find curry to be one of the most stimulating things to put in my mouth, because there are so many little players making up the main event. I ordered the spice level to be “hot,” and it was a gratifying, dinner appropriate heat. I find the spice heat in curry is more of a throaty heat rather than a biting heat. It’s not a heat that lingers; which is good, because it gives the other flavours in the food a chance to come through.
Naan ($2.50 each) and rice
The bread here is much denser than most. It came out fresh, fluffy and hot; cut into quarters. It had a nice char on the bottom and poufy crackly blisters on the top. The density made the bread chewier, which I liked, and it is much more filling than the thinner versions. DL prefers Maurya’s naan over all the other Kamloopsian naan, because of the thickness, and it provides a meatier chew without giving up the fluffiness. The naan at Maurya’s is a bit oilier than naan at the other places, but this didn’t add or take away from anything.
Okay, the reason I thought my eat-in experience was subpar in the past, is the fact that the last time we ate at Maurya’s the plates were ICE cold. Not the food. It was the plates. The plates felt like they were stored in the fridge. Stone. Cold. Tonight the plates are still cool, but in no way as Steve-Austin as the previous visit. Having a warm or at least room temperature plate is a pretty major detail for me. I know it has nothing to do with the food itself, but it really takes away from a meal when you place hot food on your cold plate and by the time it gets to your mouth it’s almost as cool as the plate.
I believe I have eaten butter chicken and lamb at the four main Indian restaurants here in the 'Loop. Of which I am thankful, because now I can finally order something different. Phew! Maurya’s Fine Indian Cuisine was much more enjoyable tonight than I remembered it to be. Satisfyingly good. Service was prompt and friendly, but we were the only people in the restaurant for almost the entire meal. Two other people came in a little later. The above meal came to $51.30 (this included a chai for $1.95.) The value is similar with the other South Asian restaurants in Kamloops. I think ethnic food is generally kinda pricey out here for what you get, but oh well. Good meal and cheap convenient parking = good night.
I rolled my protruding belly out to the vehicle, pleasantly satiated tonight and with a little lunch for tomorrow too. As I opened the car door I noticed the blue station wagon behind us had a new accessory tucked under their wipers flapping in the wind. The house always wins.