C and I haven’t went out for quite some time. I was trying to behave and not eat out, but gosh darn it – if you lure me with delicious food I simply can’t resist! She asked me where I wanted to go, and I was thinking something new and inexpensive. Also ethnic. Hmmmm I think Nilu’s on my wishlist totally fits that description! C agreed to the location, and good thing I reminded her of the location b/c she nearly thought it was within walking distance of her home :D Regardless, Calgary Transit is convenient and I have no problems giving rides to my friends. I also asked her to bring a pot so we can pick up some Bun Bo Hue afterwards.
Nilu’s is a small restaurant with a not so simple menu. Although C got the owner to clarify some of the dishes for us, we still had to spend some time googling the dishes on our phones as we’re trying to decide on what to order. The owner learned that it was our first time trying Bangladeshi cuisine, and he was very patient explaining what goes well with that, without any intention to oversell. For example, I was thinking of trying their crepes but based on the dishes we’ve ordered he suggested that pairing it with rice will be more appropriate. Ok – he must know more about Bangladeshi food pairing than I do!
Here’s what we tried today:
Bhorta (Mashed Dishes) – Shutki (Dried Fish) & Bagun (Eggplant) – $4.99
Mashed dishes are listed as medium spicy on the menu, but these were anything but. They were so spicy that we had trouble finishing it, and C has a way higher spice tolerance than I do. I love eggplant and will eat any eggplant dish – which is why I decided to order it, and our friendly owner suggested the dried fish pairing as the mashed dishes are sold as a pair (one meat and one vegetable). They were both very tasty with a ton of spices, but besides telling you that the chilies numbed my entire mouth, the other flavor I could taste was garlic. I felt bad not wanting to pack this to go when the owner asked us to – he thought I didn’t like the dish. I think next time I will ask if the heat can be toned down (like, by a lot).
Chingri Machh (Shrimp) Bhuna – $6.99
This was my pick. Not interested in heavy meat, I thought shrimp was the way to go. This was very mildly spiced and much easier to eat. The dominant flavors in this dish were the tomatoes and tumeric, plus a good amount of onions. There’s also other kinds of spices but I am uncertain of what they are. This was definitely a very tasty dish and a generous amount of shrimp for the price!
Phulkopi Aloo (Cauliflower and potato) Bhaji – $5.99
This was C’s pick. This is more of a curry dish and again, it was mildly spiced but absolutely flavorful. The cauliflower are cooked to tender but not overdone, and the potatoes were nice and soft.
Pulaw – $2.99
This was my favorite dish. Don’t laugh! I love the scattering of saffron and caramelized onions allover the rice and I’m telling you right now that I will cook my next pot of rice the exact same way (might be a while, since I haven’t made a pot of rice for weeks now, nevertheless…). The tastes were subtle yet flavorful, and I could not believe at the HUGE portion for the price!
Yum. Like my pretty plating?
Can you believe all this food only cost us a mere $21~? I was beyond stuffed and couldn’t even make room for dessert. I’m so glad we tried something completely different today and it turned out to be such a great experience. Great food, albeit deathly spicy on the bhorta, excellent service and awesome pricing! I can’t wait to come back and try more items.