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Shambala

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Ru is obsessed with groupon where she finds amazing deals and always informs me. So far, I have 3 deals. Thus when I was asked if I wanted to try Tibetan food, I gladly accepted. I was once supposed to go to a Tibetan restaurant named Ohm but unfortunately it was cancelled last minute.

As soon as I entered Shambala, I was blown away. I instantly fell in love with the seatings at the far ends. I felt like a dinner guest at an Oriental palace. A table is placed in the middle of a squared shape couch with lots of pillows. We were only four, but two more people can be squeezed in. There was a bigger couch that had a view on Saint-Denis street where 8 people could easily fit in. I was sad that I was seated in the front and didn’t have any support for my back. Next time, I’ll be surrounded by pillows.

Ru’s friends, Fred and An, had already been here and they suggested we order momos, which they all did. They had a plate of 8 as their main dish, which also came with a lentil soup as an appetizer.

I opted for a table d’hôte, which consisted of a lentil soup, main dish, fruit salad and tea. I chose option B named Shambala that gave the choice of either a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian meal, served with 3 momos. Perfect option as I get to try both momos and a meal.

Momos are a traditional dish of Tibet, they are dumplings and you can savour them either steamed or fried. There were 3 different sorts of momos available, such as chura (cheese, cabbage and carrot), shogo (mashed potatoes and scallions) and dokpa (ground beef and onions). A remarkable detail is that they all had different shapes, so it’s easy to distinguish one another. They come with 3 sorts of sauces, one with lots of spices, another one with yogourt one and one that seemed like a soy sauce. My favorite one was the chura, with the melting cheese it left a creamy taste in the mouth. The shogo one was too filling with the potatoes, I didn’t like it as much. The dokpa one was a nice combination, nor too light nor too heavy. I loved the spicy sauce but the yogourt was very good and creamy. The soy one was too blend to my taste. Fred was disappointed that the spicy sauce wasn’t the one he had had last time he came with An. He said it was less spicy and better.

The lentil soup was delicious, it reminded me a bit of dhal soup, an Indian specialty that’s a bit thicker.

I opted for the Chasha Shamdey, the non-vegetarian meal. It’s a chicken curry marinated in herbs and yogurt with potatoes, served with jasmine rice. The first thing I thought of when I received my dish, is that not only it looks like Indian food, but it is also presented as such with the curry in a metal plate. The presentation was lovely, with a cute dollop of rice on the side sprinkled with herbs. The curry wasn’t spicy, rather mild and it certainly wasn’t the best I’ve had. I wish I had chosen the vegetarian meal instead, a tofu curry.

I ordered a dessert even if I had a fruit salad as one. Not sure it was a smart idea, but my bill had to be over 20 dollars to make my groupon deal worth it. Curious as always, I tried the Shambala Danish, a favorite of the place. It’s a steamed bun with butter and cheese that’s deep fried, covered with caramel made of brown sugar. How do I describe its taste? At first sight, it doesn’t look very appealing, but looks can be deceiving sometimes. I tried cutting it in pieces, which was quite difficult as the Danish was hard to cut. After a first bite, I wasn’t too sure what to think. It was barely sweet and it tasted like a weird combination I wasn’t expecting. While eating it, my stomach was slightly upset but I’m not sure if it was due to the Danish or the fact that I ate too much. Ru also had a bite and didn’t look too sure about it either. In my truthful opinion, cheese should not be used to make a dessert with the exception of cheesecake that tastes sweet and good. I don’t recommend it but feel free to try it, if you think your taste buds cand handle it.

The waitress asked if I still wanted the fruit salad despite my dessert and I said yes. I sincerely regret having taken the Danish. I would have been just satisfied with the salad that was more a granola with yogourt and small pieces of fruits, very refreshing and light.

For the tea, I had the choice between green, jasmine or chai. I chose chai, a black tea usually served with milk and very sweet. It smelled good and as I was sipping on it, I felt I was back in New Delhi.

Tibet is close to India, so there are a lot of similarities between them. Not only is the food similar to the Northern area of India, but even the tea tastes exactly the same.

Our waitress was cute and nice. She never let our glasses of water be empty, ever. She brought the soups at the same time for all of us. She brought my momos after, before bringing the main dishes with mine coming last. An chatted with her about tattoos and even got the address of the waitress’s friend who made the tattoo An loved. Prices are good, the table d’hôte I chose is 16.99 dollars. A very good deal with everything that is included.  I ordered a dessert also, as I needed my bill to be over 20 dollars to use the groupon deal. I think if I hadn’t taken that, I would have been perfectly full. The price is the same day or night. There are different kinds of table d’hôte, even some for 2 people or more to share. It gets a grade of 7.5/10. Reservations are recommended, especially if you want the couches, they’re popular and comfortable. Whether you’re among friends or a date, snuggling against one another in the couch, you should try this place if you want to discover Tibetan food. You have to order momos, especially the chura ones with cheese. We will try Ohm before claiming Shambala has the best momos.

The middle of the room and the couches are at the opposite ends.

I loved the washroom with mirrors so large that you could see yourself entirely. Three ladies can fit in easily if they want to fix up before going to a bar or club nearby. Not only was there some febreze on a small counter, but there was also some cream, astounding!!!  Ideal for ladies that have dry hands and no cream with them. Not sure if the men’s washroom was as fancy as this one.

Shambala 

3439 Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC

H2L 4S9 514-842-2242

Restaurant Shambala on Urbanspoon

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