Vij’s Railway Express is a spinoff food cart from the now famous Vij’s, a restaurant opened by Chef Vikram that serves up delicious fusion Indian cuisine. I haven’t been to the Vij’s Restaurant, but I’ve heard some pretty raving reviews.
I’ve read a lot of good Yelp reviews on the cart, and it’s been recently nominated for Air Canada’s enRoute award. Having tried the food carts really close to my work, I figured I would go a bit further and check out the Railway Express.One of the first things I noticed when looking at their menu was their prices – even for food carts, Vij’s seems pretty pricey. Their cheapest dish is $9.50, it’s a chickpea salad. I could see why some Yelp reviews were a bit put off by Vij’s prices.
Sorry about the poor photo quality here – Vij’s Railway Express has five dishes: Rice Puff and Chickpea Salad, Jackfruit, Lamb Kebab, Butter Chicken Schnitzel, and Halibut in Coconut Masala Curry. For drinks, I was disappointed to find out that they only served Chai. It was a pretty warm day and I read in a blog post that they had mango laasi (one of my favourite drinks of all time!), so I was a bit bummed that they didn’t have any other drink options.One of the main standout things I noticed is that Vij’s cart is really nice! There’s a lot of detail in the decoration and they even have some of their products on sale.
They have some small bottles of their curries and tshirts for sale close to the condiments.On to the food! I was pretty torn between the Butter Chicken Schnitzel and the Halibut in Coconut Masala Curry. The butter chicken sounded really neat because of Vij’s twist on the classic by frying the chicken in panko crumbs. In the end, I settled for trying out the Halibut since it sounded slightly healthier (I’ve been eating too much!)
Their menu describes the Halibut in Coconut Masala Curry as:
Inspired from the region of Goa, fresh British Columbia halibut cheeks in a coconut masala with cumin-infused basmatti and naan.
I was pretty excited when I finally got my halibut meal. It got busy pretty fast, and the order took a good 20-30 minutes before it came out. Digging into it though, I was not particularly blown away.
With the halibut, I expected it to be really flaky and flavourful. It was disappointingly chewy, indicating that it had been a tad overcooked. I did get some of the halibut flavour, but it was actually covered up quite a bit by the curry flavours. The curry itself had a really nice coconut taste, but it was missing some depth and real heat. It was spicy, but not at the level I was expecting.
There was something missing in the masala curry, and it might be that it just wasn’t cooked with enough spices or with enough time. I can’t pinpoint it, but it just didn’t taste complete. I’ve had better curry, so I was kind of let down by all the buzz about Vij’s. The naan was decent, but after having naan from a cart like Soho Road, it just doesn’t compare. The rice…was rice (and some of it was kind of clumpy), nothing really special there.
Overall, I couldn’t see what the rave was about. At their price-point, I find that the quality and quantity of food doesn’t sync up. In fact, I actually ended up hitting another food cart afterwards (Mogu, which will be in a later post!) to really fill up. I still plan on visiting their actual store someday, and I hope that I can get the wow-factor that so many people seem to get from their experiences with Vij’s.