825 Denman St (near Robson), Vancouver
I’m exhausted from eating too much meat. No, that’s not secret sex lingo…apparently African cuisine involves eating multiple types of meats.
This restaurant is considered African fusion…the other part of the fusion must be Indian. Simba’s is a solidly good choice for lovers of Indian cuisine who are looking for a twist to jazz things up. Many of the dishes are cream curries and meat centered platters. The selection is fairly limited, there are plenty of curry, chicken, prawn, and lamb centered dishes. Occasional beef, goat, hen, and ostrich meals are also sprinkled throughout Simba’s menu. All the entrees fall within the reasonable range of $11 to $22. At the $22 level you’ll be shelling out for the intriguing ostrich skewers or the tomato spiced Halibut. Don’t be turned off if you’re a veggie — they have a decent number of meat-free dishes. Like the mushrooms in cream curry or okra with ladyfingers in a tomato spice sauce (both $11). Do be turned off if you’re vegan, I doubt there is a single thing on the menu that will meet your needs.
We ordered the special for 2 ($39) which was a barbecue platter including skewers of prawns, chicken, beef, lamb, and ostrich served with naan and saffron rice. All the meats were excellent cuts and there is most certainly enough food for 2…or maybe even 3 people. The prawns are huge, the chicken is tender, the lamb is lovely with the most distinctive flavor of all, the dark meats are spiced heavily with a tasty rub. And the ostrich is….a red meat?! Why didn’t I know that? Red meat that is ultra chewy. The mango chutney goes well with the chicken and the red meats are absolutely mouth watering when you pair them with the tamarind sauce. Yum! Spicy, honey, good tamarind. Ahhh skewers, maybe you want to avoid eating out with me — about 2 minutes in I abandoned my utensils along with my western civility and it was messy sticky hands for the rest of the night.
For an extra $5 you can end it all with one of their desserts: ice cream, cheesecake, or baked ricotta –here’s hoping you like products straight from the cow (or sheep, in the case of ricotta). But I’d recommend saving the $5 and instead putting towards a tasty refreshing Tusker beer. At Simba’s, bottles of Kenya’s finest lager are almost always available. A light beer that’s a real easy one to down — perfect for putting out any spicy flare ups you weren’t expecting brought on by…say, the abnormally spicy mango chutney. Sure, it starts off tasting like oil, then mango, then suddenly your mouth’s on fire and your nose is running and you think there’s no way mango did that…but it did. Don’t shy away from it though — load that stuff on if you’re getting the barbecued chicken.
The meals aren’t exactly over-priced; they’re neither cheap nor expensive. The portions are large. The service is fast and friendly. So why don’t I love this place? I dunno – it just doesn’t “wow” me. Nothing bad, nothing amazing. I’ll have to give this place one and a half ivory tusks up. But I probably won’t be back anytime soon because there are so many amazing places out there and Simba’s just doesn’t make the cut. Hey, I’m a snob — I’ve learned to deal with it; and so shall you.
Open: until 10.30 nightly — closed on Mondays.
Reservations: Are recommended — but will only be held for 10 mins. Don’t complain if they give the table away, instead grow up and learn to be timely, damnnit!
Additional location in Burnaby on Edmonds
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