Located at the corner of Main St. and 28th Avenue, East is East is centrally located right in the middle of the Main St. bustle. This location offers both a take out option (with a take out window), and a sit-in restaurant experience. The cuisine is Middle Eastern/Indian/Silk Road inspired, and is quite popular with the locals.
Stepping inside the restaurant is an unexpected experience. The walls are hung with darkly colourful Afghan carpets; cushions are placed all along both walls, and the seating is close to the ground, behind low, wooden tables. It was like entering an Arabian Nights fantasy. The only off note was the heavy aroma of burning incense which was smoky and overly sweet.
Upon our arrival for lunch, we were warmly greeted, and were immediately brought glasses of water and a sample of chai in a tiny while espresso cup. The chai was wonderful - sweet, milky, and with an intense spiciness that was unusual. It may be the best chai in the city (sharing the honor with Granville Island Tea Co., perhaps). Of course, the little sample made us want more, so we ordered a whole cup of the beautiful chai.
Both of us ordered the roti wrap. Shane ordered the Peas and Paneer wrap, which came with a side of salad and a portion of the dhal soup. I had the Afghan Nomad, a curried lamb wrap. The Peas and Paneer roti was good and mildly spiced. The lamb was absolutely tender and well seasoned with just enough spice. The rice with raisins gave a wonderful sweet accompaniment to the lamb. The side soup was hearty, and had an unexpected hint of tangy flavour. It was very good. The only misstep was the lack of dressing on the salad, although the greens and beets tasted fresh.
To be honest, I was not expecting to like this place, but the food and decor lured me into its charms. Top that with a world shattering spicy chai, and the restaurant had me in its embrace.