Showing posts with label babaghanoush. Show all posts
Showing posts with label babaghanoush. Show all posts

Me Va Me (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Me Va Me locations have been popping up around the city as quickly as it takes to say their cheerful sounding name. Serving an Israeli Middle Eastern menu, their most famous item is the laffa a thin chewy bread that’s a cross between a tortilla and freshly made pita. Restaurants are equipped with a taboon clay oven so that these can be made fresh and on location.

The falafel laffa ($11.95) wrapped up several airy chickpea fritters, which arrived warm with delivery and would have been amazing if eaten fresh and hot. They go nicely against the cooler sauces that I incorporated plenty of for maximum flavour - hummus, tzatziki, tahini, and hot sauce! With all the condiments, there was a chance the wrap would arrive soggy. Yet, lettuce helped form a layer between the bread and the other ingredients and added a nice crunch to the wrap.

After enjoying all the great flavours in the laffa, the lacklustre chicken shawarma plate ($17.75) was a let down. It comes with a sizeable portion of slightly dry chicken, tons of grilled vegetables, and a dense cold dry pita … but then only one measly tahini sauce to flavour everything.

Having had my fair share of shawarma plates, most places provide at least two condiments - tahini and garlic sauce - and many even have extra sides like pickles, beets, and tabbouleh. Instead, Me Va Me serves theirs with a huge side salad, which while great value isn’t the tastiest. I’d much rather they eliminate the salad and provide things that would enhance the overall plate instead.

We did order a couple of their dips, but they didn’t impress and reminded me of the prepared ones found in supermarkets. The fried eggplant ($3.95) started off nicely with big chunks of smoky eggplant, but the ketchup-like sauce they incorporated into the dip made everything way too sweet. Meanwhile, the babaganoush ($3.95) had so much mayonnaise added that it would be better classified as eggplant aioli. This is definitely not something you’d want to just eat a spoonful of plain.

Their laffas are by far the star of the menu. In the end, Me Va Me wasn’t a complete bust, but is a one hit wonder.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


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The Kasap Turkish Cuisine (Dubai)


As you’re sitting on The Kasap’s patio and taking in the man-made views of The Pointe, it feels like you’re somewhere Mediterranean, maybe even Turkey, just somewhere far from desert life. The restaurant should be thankful there’s such a great outdoor atmosphere as sitting on the lowest level of the patio also means you’re forgotten and service is slow at best.

Once we were able to get an order in, the food arrives at a quick pace; in no time a dish of vibrant babaghanoush (AED22) arrives with soft toasted pita. While the dip was refreshing, the eggplant flavour was masked by the other vegetables and it could really use more salt.


In general, most dishes were under seasoned. The minced beef Turkish-style flatbread (AED49) screamed for spices – parsley, salt - anything to cover the meat’s gaminess that was so off putting I couldn’t have more than a slice. How is beef even gamey, surely this must have been mutton?


If anything, what impressed me most about the dish was the presentation: the long plank placed on can so other dishes could be placed underneath. Such a genius idea for efficient space use that must make city planners swoon.

Thank you to J for this photo

The most flavourful dish was the adana kebab (AED58), the tender and juicy skewers have a hit of spice that really sneaks up on you. We used our fair share of the yoghurt and pickled cabbage to help calm the heat.


It also went well with the kale and pomegranate salad (AED34), which was tossed with bits of bulgur and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. The kale just needed a good massage to break down the tough fibers.


Where I was happy with The Kasap’s restrained flavours was with the baklava (AED32). Normally, it’s a dessert that’s so sugary it makes my teeth ache – figuratively, not literally. The Kasap’s was still infused with plenty of honey but it was sticky without being too sweet. I also liked the liberal sprinkling of pistachios, which adds such a nice nuttiness to the dessert.


If all else fails, eat elsewhere and visit the restaurant for a drink. They offer a wide selection of juices, the Kasap special (AED29) a fruity blend of passionfruit with apple and orange. All our drinks tasted great, if only they arrived colder.



That’s when we could have really gotten the tropical experience of icy drinks, blue waters, and tons of sunshine. After all, with the Atlantis in the background, you could even daydream about being transported to Bahamas. Desert, what desert?

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 Address: The Pointe
 Website: http://thekasap.ae/

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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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CLOSED: Taste of Uzbekistan (Toronto)


Uzbekistan, a country part of the former Soviet Republic, is no major tourist destination even though it was formerly a stop along the Spice Route. It’s a cuisine that many Torontonians would have never tasted until Djovikhon Buzrukov opened Taj Restaurant in a North York strip mall.

With its success, a second location dubbed Taste of Uzbekistan has now opened in the Yonge Lawrence Village. A larger space, the signage has a palatial quality to it and makes it feel like you’re about to get a taste of royalty.

So, it seemed off brand when a humble plate of babaghanoush ($8.99) was presented with a side of tandoori non in a plastic diner basket. Where the starter lacked in presentation, it’s made up in taste: eggplant grilled lightly and seasoned with lemon juice and oil. So simple, yet when produce is fresh all you should taste is the lovely creamy eggplant.


The bread, made in-house in a clay tandoori oven, could be toasted a bit less as the thinner middle portion became hard and cracker like, while the thicker ring stayed in the softer doughy form. Who knows, maybe this is how it’s meant to be made offering two textures, but it’s the softly toasted part that went so well with the babaghanoush.  

How dishes are presented seems to indicate items are meant to be shared. Each arrives as soon as they’re done, so if guests order their own main, there could be a significant lag until the entire order arrives.

A dish they recommend highly is the plov ($15.99), a traditional Uzbek dish that’s typically prepared on special gatherings. It’s touted on the sign outdoors, on their menu, and even when you ask them for their advice. Certainly, it’s a comforting plate that I could imagine an Uzbekistan family gathering on a weekend to enjoy.


Rice is cooked with onion, carrot, raisins, and cumin so it gets a lovely colour and aroma. Thankfully, the raisins are used sparingly so that it doesn’t sweeten the rice, merely creating moisture in the dish. Chunks of tender lamb are strewn throughout adding an oily richness to everything else. As I tucked into forkfuls of the rice, thoughts of biryani came to mind, but in a mild form. The side of achichuk salad compliments the plov, the fresh tomato and crunchy cucumbers giving the dish a fresh cleansing element.

Conversely, the overdone kazan kebab ($19.99) was forgettable, the lamb lacking moisture or flavour. In fact, the best part of plate was the salty sliced potatoes cooked in a cast iron pan so that it fries at the edges creating a crispy scallop potato like side without the heavy cream, cheese, and butter.



Taste of Uzbekistan’s service isn’t bad, but is a tad off. Before I could even sit down, our waiter asks for a drink order, so I quickly respond water until I have a chance to settle. Yet, you come to realize there’s no beverage menu so wait around until one is produced. 


The only saving grace are the generous wine pours; the glass arrives filled to the brim. And with enough wine, for me, everything gets better.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3249 Yonge Street

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!


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Mayrik (Toronto)


While downtown Toronto is filled with the O.G., new trendy, and fancy restaurants; and Scarborough, Mississauga, and Brampton are home to very authentic eateries; mid-town Toronto melds the two together to form a collection of restaurants that draws on traditions, but adds an element of familiarity as well. In no way is this comment meant to be a disparaging remark: mid-town restaurants offer a safe space to try different cuisines without feeling uneducated.

I’ll fully admit my experience with Middle Eastern food is still in the elementary stages. Since it essentially encapsulates Arab, Persian, Jewish, and Turkish food (to name a few), there’s a wide array of flavours, ingredients, and dishes to taste.

Mayrik serves Armenian dishes that are inspired by Chef Sebouh Yacoubian’s maternal kitchen, but updated with his own flair. For example, octopus ($32) isn’t something that you normally find on Armenian menus, but Mayrik prepares it excellently, on account of Chef Yacoubian’s lineage with the Greek Mamakas Tavern. It’s tender enough that a dinner knife slides through easily and grilled lovingly so the seafood develops a smokiness and the tendrils become crispy.


Both meaty and delicate, the octopus is simply seasoned, but add some of the mild harra sauce and it gets even better. Sitting on a bed of eech, a bulgur wheat salad, I can’t say it really compliments the octopus, but I guess isn’t a terrible choice either. The eech just seems to be missing something – more salt and even some of the tabouli would be nice.

The babaghanoush ($8) is the healthiest and freshest version I’ve ever tasted, the base merely well-roasted eggplant with a splash of olive oil and seasoning. Topped with a tabouli that’s equal parts parsley and bell peppers with a light splash of lemon, it helps to give the dish some crunch and freshness. The pink ribbons is a date tahini adding an element of sweetness while the pine nuts fairly neutral creating something to chew on.


Each dip arrives with two toasted pitas that are freshly prepared and hot – be careful when pulling these babies apart. The bread really hits the spot and would be even better if some of the dried parsley is substituted with salt.

Surprisingly, it’s the humble shawarma ($26) that elicit the most excitement at the table. A stunning affair with another hot fresh pita (thinner and more toasted) that’s topped with decadently oily and tender pulled lamb neck … make sure you have a piece of the meat solo before adding any accompaniments… it’s so good.


Mayrik keeps the condiments separate so you decide how much chimmichurri, pickled red onions with sumac, tahini, and pickles to include in the shawarma. My husband was able to add tahini to his heart’s content while I loaded up on onion and pickles, which I found help cut through the lamb’s richness.


Sharing is essential and this dish is fairly heavy. The lamb neck is loaded with oil, so although it can get messy, I suggest picking up the wrap and eating it taco style so the oil can drain out the other end. At least a tablespoon was left on the plate after I finished my half.

Plus, you need to save room for the kunefe ($16). The dessert consists of fine semolina dough baked with cheese and some custard creating a cross between a flan, cheesecake, and gooey cheese all melted into a pan of deliciousness. It’s certainly sweet owing to the brown sugar topping and the orange syrup that gets poured at the table. It’s rich enough to share amongst a table of four; a quarter is all you really need.


The other great thing about dining midtown is the calmer pace. Especially on weekdays when people just seem to have more time and there’s no reminder that meals can only last for two hours. At Mayrik, our waitress was helpful, in particular helping to navigate through the Greek wines, which I’m also inexperienced with. It’s my chance immerse myself in a new cuisine, without feeling like a dunce.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1580 Bayview Avenue

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:


Mayrik Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato