CLOSED: TYC by Sanjeev Kapoor (Toronto)

TYC by Sanjeev Kapoor

TYC or The Yellow Chilli is the sole Canadian outpost of a chain that amalgamates a variety of Indian dishes from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s journey across India. In reviewing the restaurant’s website, it publicizes their aim to serve food in a hygienic atmosphere. I don’t know what to think of this… shouldn’t this be the minimal standard of any establishment? I’d hope all restaurants want to be hygienic and it’s not something exemplary to highlight like a mission statement. Yet, while waiting for my friends to arrive, I noticed the neighbouring table’s banquette was marked with muddy shoeprints and within minutes a waitress arrives apologizing (despite it not being my table) and cleans off the offending marks.  

With my love for samosas, I had to try the starter and TYC has three to choose from: vegetarian, chicken, or mutton. The aloo makai samosa ($6) was filled with potato and corn (according to the menu). In reality, I couldn’t decipher the corn amongst the mashed potato filling, which lacked texture and interest. Moreover, it wasn’t even accompanied by sauces, despite not being overly flavourful. Luckily, we stopped the waitress from taking away the tamarind and creamy dill sauce served with the complimentary crispy papadum to use with the appetizer. I’d rather have the vegetable samosas from Samosa King any day.

One of their best sellers is the lalla mussa dal ($13), a dish of black lentils slow cooked over 36 hours to get to that melting consistency. Interestingly, their website also boasts about their use of state-of-the-art equipment – I guess they haven’t started using the Insta-pot yet. Nonetheless, the dish is very hearty and with the long cooking period, the pulse turns into a silky creamy concoction that was delicious by itself or sandwiched in naan.

Butter chicken ($17) has never been a dish I’m overly fond of and TYC reminds me why: the tomato sauce is way too sweet, the chunks of chicken not overly tender, and the “butter” sauce heavy but not in a heavenly way. After a spoonful, I stuck to the fish tikka masala ($23) where the tomato sauce has a nice tangy kick and the tandoor cooked fish left flaky and tender.

Just stay away from the butter chicken, if you want butter have their butter naan ($3.95; two pieces pictured) instead. The bread is hot, soft and chewy, and glistens with the ingredient.

The spiciest dish of the evening was the murgh noormahal biryani ($15) – thankfully, they brought out raita to accompany the rice, I certainly had my fair share of the cooling yoghurt. The biryani was peppered with spices where the heat slowly builds and permeates the taste buds to a delicious finish. I’d just leave out the fried onions – presumably crispy if eaten right away but over time becomes chewy and hard against the moist grains of rice.

So why a yellow chilli? The menu’s cover letter from Sanjeev explains this, “Years ago, on the streets of Meerut, my mother’s hometown, I bumped into a yellow chilli … with one bite … an idea was born. My restaurant, The Yellow Chilli, came into being.” Since then, the chain has grown to about 100 outlets and its foray into Canada. I had high expectations: while some dishes were good, none were outstanding and hardly the delicious journey I’d expect for an Indian chain.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 55 Eglinton Avenue East

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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