October 25, 2010
Whenever we are in Victoria, British Columbia, we make it a point to visit the venerable Bengal Lounge in the even more venerable Fairmont Empress hotel. The Empress is a fixture on Victoria’s Inner Harbour. It seems every tourist in town wants to take tea there (and you should definitely have that rarified experience at least once in your life).
But for those who have been there, done that before, nothing beats a drink or a meal in the Bengal Lounge. A couple of Sundays ago, with a roiling tummy and fuzzy head after a hard night of wine drinking, we rolled out of bed in a leisurely manner and walked (gently) to the Empress for the Bengal Lounge’s famous Curry Lunch Buffet (an all-you-can eat deal for $30; it’s also offered at dinner time for two dollars more).
Here’s the groaning board on the day we visited, replete with seafood chowder, fresh greens with buttermilk dressing or balsamic vinaigrette, naan bread, and peppery papadams as starters, not to mention mango chutney, hot-hot tomato salsa, and thick cucumber raita as accoutrements.
Main courses included Butter Chicken (warm and super-rich, and a signature dish at the Bengal Lounge), lamb curry, tandoori chicken, vegetarian curry, spinach bhajias, and basmati rice. A veritable feast, and good with the chutney and salsa.
There were even bowls of peanuts, coconut, and raisins to embellish the curries to taste!
Dessert was special–Cardamom Crème Brûlée. A tummy full of food, lots of water and iced tea to hydrate, and a little hair of the dog–a cool, crisp glass of Tantalus Riesling from the Okanagan Valley–and I was set for several more hours of sightseeing before the Victoria Clipper whisked us back to Seattle.