With a last minute cancellation, we changed our March NRT outing to a more casual option than our original choice. This gave me the opportunity to finally try Vimala’s Curry Blossom in Chapel Hill. This counter service restaurant is in the space which used to be occupied by Sandwhich in the Courtyard complex. The space is simple with a few small tables, some counters, and bright walls. The menu offers home cooked Indian options and oddly enough a pulled-pork entrée. While the menu offers regular items, there are several daily specials. This just demonstrates that this place is a labor of love for owner and chef Vimala Rajendran. She cooks and serves what she likes and what inspires her on a daily basis.
Vimala is a beloved member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. She originally began cooking out of her home, catering and for larger dinner parties. She was able to raise funds to open the restaurant through donations from friends and admirers of her cooking. The community spirit is reciprocal as she offers an ‘everybody eats’ policy in which she believes that everyone should have access to healthy food. There is a donation jar on the counter to support this program.
After much time deliberating, I settled on one of the specials for the day, the Bombay Style Fish and Chips. It was a local fried porgy with Indian masala, served with fries also flavored with a nice masala, rice and a small side salad. The fish was absolutely delicious! Fresh, perfectly seasoned, slightly spicy, and had a nice light crispy crust. My dining companions selected the Samosa Chaat and the Beef Curry Thali. The thali meal is served with rice, dal, a vegetable curry, chutney, chapati and pappadum. I also had a bite of the beef curry which too was wonderful! The beef was tender, flavorful and spicy. The food was lighter than the usual Indian restaurants. It was much more typical of home cooked Indian food without the cream based sauces and oiliness.
Vimala came by and visited all of the tables. She offered me an extra plate for the bones in the fish. She also bought our table some extra chutneys and condiments. She chatted with us about her inspiration, how she decides what the daily specials should be and the wonderful restaurant scene in Chapel Hill. As she talked with us, she enjoyed a bowl of yogurt. You really are in her home enjoying her hospitality and cooking. I will most certainly be back when I am missing a genuine home cooked Indian meal!
Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe
431 W Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC 27516