Showing posts with label Celiac friendly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celiac friendly. Show all posts

Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine - Queen (Toronto)


While Toronto restaurants have made great strides with accommodating food allergies, choices are still limited for those who have celiac level allergies to gluten. It’s an added liability or investment that some restaurants don’t want to take on to make to ensure their kitchens and food handling is celiac safe.

Accordingly, it’s admirable that Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine has not only dedicated their chain to being celiac friendly but also offers a wide range of menu options. In fact, they seem to cater to a host of dietary restrictions including those who are vegan.

Traditionally, the tabule in the sampler platter ($22) wouldn’t be gluten-free due to it’s use of bulgur wheat. As a result, the kitchen substitutes quinoa into the finely chopped parsley, tomato, and onion salad instead, which gives it a finer and more delicate consistency. I love mixing the citrusy tabule with smoky rich babaganoush and sandwiching a spoon of it into the thin and chewy laffa ($3.95 a piece), it’s a great way to start the meal.

In fact, you can make a whole meal from their starters with the host of other mezze options gracing the menu. From the inexpensive assorted pickles ($4.50) made up on turnips, olives, hot peppers, and dill pickles to something warm and comforting like the aaranbeet ($8.95), which is unbattered fried cauliflower that’s tossed with tahini creating a warm nutty bite.

Tabule’s falafel salad ($14.95) continues to impress, the crispy chickpea and fava bean nuggets are deliciously fluffy, moist, and flavourful putting other falafels to shame. I do find the vinaigrette overly acidic (mixing a bit of tahini into it helps) and the dressing could use a hit more salt. If you’re not into super lemony salads, I’d stick with ordering the falafels solo.

The warak enab ($12.95) is also overly citrusy, which is a shame as the stuffed grape leaves are a great consistency – the leaves delicate and soft and the rice not too mushy. If only Tabule tones down the lemon seasoning and augments the tomato, garlic, and other spices instead.

For something filling, go for the eggplant meal ($16.95) where slices of aubergine are fried until soft and topped with tahini and pomegranate creating a salty, sweet, and nutty main. The sauces and juices go equally well when soaked into the mujaddara, a fragrant rice studded with lentils and onions. If things become too oily or heavy, have a bite of grilled vegetables that round out the dish.

Gathering around the table to eat and share is such an important ritual to build connection. Cheers to Tabule for making this possible for so many more people. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 810 Queen Street 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Planta Queen (Toronto)



I don’t often have sushi in a restaurant whose menu isn’t entirely Japanese, but Planta Queen’s nigiri is so inventive that you should try it once. As the ahi watermelon ($5.25 for two) and unagi eggplant ($5.25 for two) are placed before us, I’m marveled by how much they look like lean tuna and mackerel. In reality, the consistency and taste doesn’t resemble fish – the watermelon has a strong ginger flavour and the eggplant a slight smokiness – yet, it also doesn’t taste like the fruit or vegetable it’s made from. It just works!


The ahi watermelon makes its way into the rainbow roll ($15) and spicy tuna roll ($15) as well. Of the two, the rainbow roll has more interest: the soft pressed watermelon paired with creamy avocado and mayo, crispy romaine, and a sliver of bright shiso leaf. The spicy tuna roll is fine, but relies a lot on the spicy aioli for flavour.


You wouldn’t want an entire order of gomae ($12.25) for yourself. Even though it’s essentially just boiled spinach tossed in a sesame dressing with crisped rice thrown on top, the nutty sauce is also what makes it fairly rich as well. Yet, when shared, it’s a nice way to start the meal or even to finish off with something refreshing.  


On the other hand, I could easily down an entire bowl of the mushroom dashi ($8.95). It’s everything you want during the winter: a warm bowl of rich consommé, enoki and shiitake mushrooms peppered throughout, and cubes of delicate tofu sitting at the bottom. It’s simple and heavenly.


Planta’s Hakka rice noodles ($17.50) doesn’t really taste like anything I’ve ever had at a Hakka restaurant, but it could easily grace the menu of a Thai establishment. The coconut green curry base has a lovely aroma and a hint of heat, but could use more salt. As it stands, the dish of rice noodles with tofu and Chinese broccoli (gai lan) was fine but didn’t overly excite.


The udon ($18.75) was a hundred times better. In this case, the rice noodles (since we were having the gluten free version) was tossed in truffle oil and coconut milk creating a creamy base that would make Alfredo weep. There’s no shortage of mushrooms in the dish and is finished off with some snow pea leaves for colour and freshness. Would this dish paired with a bowl of mushroom dashi be too much fungi for one person to handle? Challenge accepted.


In general, Planta Queen uses a lot of truffles, whether it be the infused oil or the real deal. Even the maitake mushroom fried rice ($28) comes with shaved truffle on top, which truthfully doesn’t add that much to the experience. Overall, I expected the dish to offer more – something bursting with wok hay and an umami essence galore. Instead, it was pretty average fried rice with shaved truffles on top.


After the heavier mains, we thought the lemon curd ($12.35) would be a lighter finish to the meal. It certainly was a refreshing end, but the combination of lemon custard with passion fruit gelato makes for such a tarte finish that I’m puckering up thinking of the bite. The meringue needed to be sweeter and the matcha powder dropped all together as the combination of acidic citrus with bitter powder wasn’t necessarily the greatest.



For those who are celiac, you’d be happy to know every dish in this post is celiac friendly and vegan. Planta Queen certainly has an impressive menu of options for various food sensitivities. Best yet, they’re actually tasty and makes you realize that Asian food could easily forgo all the meat, eggs, and gluten and still be fantastic. Mushroom dashi, until we meet again.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10



How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 180 Queen Street West 

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this: