825 Denman Street, Vancouver, 604-974-0649, Website
This Review was penned by my guest reviewer and wife, Darlene, who visited Simba’s Grill on February 26, 2012
No, this is not a picture of Simba (which means lion in Swahili, I believe) but I didn’t have a photograph of the restaurant as a whole so I am sharing a picture of the very pretty young lady who provided entertainment during the evening.
Simba’s Grill describes itself as an ‘East African fusion’ restaurant. I have been there before on a previous trip to Vancouver some years ago but I don’t honestly remember much about it now. A friend visited the place a few days before I did and gave such a good report that I decided to go again. I am very glad that I did …
Ambience and Service
This is a very small place with seating for around about 40 people. It is a very neighborly sort of place and I got to chat with the people sitting at the tables on either side of me. Some were friends of the owner I believe. One table finished off a huge chicken dish that looked delicious whilst the other got so full on appetizers that they didn’t even continue on to the entrees. Everyone seemed very satisfied with their meals though.
Although small, the restaurant apparently has live entertainment on most nights and they did so on my visit. Usually, I find live music in a place that small to be very intrusive but that was not the case on this occasion. The singer was the owner’s daughter and she sang lovely African music, walking up and down the aisle in a quiet manner. The ambience this created was really nice. The owner himself was also there, greeting people and helping with the service. Again, although this is a small restaurant, they had three servers. All three were very knowledgeable about the menu and extraordinarily attentive and cheerful. The service, on the whole, was excellent.
Mbuzi Muchizi – This is goat shank in a lovely curry-type sauce that I think must have been pure East-African because it was quite different from an Indian curry. The dish was served with a variety of side dishes including one that was a sort of coconut sauce. I don’t like coconut so I didn’t go for this one but I gather it is a common African accompaniment. There was also sour cream and a tamarind sauce that was really great – the first taste you get from the tamarind preparation is sweet, followed very quickly by a nice hotness. The meal itself was also served a fiery pili pili sauce and mango chutney.
The goat shank was AWESOME and the sauce it was served in was delicious. It was a stew-type meal with much more sauce than meat and, to be honest, I would have like to have seen more meat in it. There was nothing else automatically served with the dish, so it helps to know in advance that you really need to either choose the Basmati rice or Naan to go along with it to make a full meal. I had the Naan, this time, and it was great. It wasn’t like the usual East Indian type as they don’t have a Tandoor on site (which I really like) but it was still very nicely made. My one problem with Naan, when not made in a Tandoor, is that it often has an undercooked bread taste that I find very yucky. This did not have that taste at all and it was perfect. Dipping the Naan in the copious amounts of sauce was lovely.
Rass Malei – This was baked ricotta cheese in cream and I had it for desert. It was quite different from anything than I had before and was excellent. The only thing I have ever had before that was similar is a Greek cheese desert but this was closer to a rice pudding with cheese. I would recommend this highly (sorry I don’t have a picture to show you what it was like).
The next time I am in Vancouver, I will most definitely go to this restaurant again as I really enjoyed it. I am just sorrowful that I do not live in the neighborhood so I could go there every week!