Showing posts with label curry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label curry. Show all posts

LOV (Toronto)


LOV looks like your typical vegan hipster restaurant – sparkling white everything with hints of greens and natural contrasts. Just looking at the dining room makes you feel healthier. For a moment, you wonder if you should skip the wine and order kombucha instead… then you remember how terrible it tastes and order a bottle of Prosecco instead. They’re both carbonated - same same, but different.

Once you start with the wine, it goes downhill from there. Somehow, two orders of fries end up at the table. The LOV poutine ($11) looks great smothered with plenty of miso gravy and vegan mozzarella but tastes like fries covered with a flavourless thick sauce. Stick with the kimchi fries ($8) instead, which at least has the fermented cabbage and a creamy sesame dressing for interest.


Perhaps an order of Brussel sprouts ($9) to keep everything healthy? They’re deep fried and smothered with way too much of that tangy buffalo sauce.  


And then the Zen salad ($16) arrives and the guilt momentarily washes away. It’s a tasty combination of konjac noodles, shredded vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, daikon, carrots), and the extras thrown in for flavour and contrast (chilis and cashew). Maybe healthier options are better at LOV as this was the best of the starters. I thoroughly enjoyed the refreshing cilantro and mint elements. What? Am I a secret healthy eater?


Then I take a bite of the mushroom risotto ($19) and taste my favourite dish of the night. Done traditionally, the creamy rice and peas would have been good, but is made even better with the roasted oyster mushrooms. Okay, so perhaps I haven’t turned into nutritionist.


Yet, the LOV lasagna ($19) didn’t really excite. While the pasta looked delicious smothered with the vegan mozzarella and cashew cream, it tasted bland. The best part of the plate was perhaps the Caesar salad.


The gnocchi di casa ($20) was an interesting take on the classic Italian dish, except at LOV it’s made with sweet potato and buckwheat so there’s antioxidant and fibre strewn throughout the dish. The sweetness did help balance the hemp, basil and arugula pesto, which by itself could have been too strong.


Aside from the risotto, it’s the coconut curry ($18) that impressed. Who would have thought cubes of squash and carrots with a blanched kale could be so delicious when smothered in a cashew and coconut milk curry?


You should definitely heed the advice of those working at LOV, they know what’s tasty. Our choice of desserts, the crème brûlée ($8) and cheesecake ($7) were both good, for vegan alternatives, but run-of-the-mill.


Our waitress highly suggested the chocolate carmelita ($5), a dessert I didn’t think I’d enjoy, but had me reaching for another bite. It’s like having a chocolate butter tart bar but with the texture (and lack of stickiness) of a date square. Our table can certainly sing it praises.



For a place that looks so healthy, LOV’s menu does have its fair share of comfort foods. But perhaps what’s most surprising is how much I enjoyed and even preferred the “healthier” options. Maybe the surroundings were rubbing off on me. Could it be, one day I may actually order kombucha? 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 620 King Street West
 Website: https://lov.com/en/

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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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Mr. Miyagi (Dubai)


Let’s be honest, you go to Mr. Miyagi for the fun environment, not the food. It’s a cool looking place that looks like it’s been decorated by an organized hoarder: umbrellas lining the wall, picture frames everywhere, and a stamp collection adorning every table lamp. There’s a bar at the back of the restaurant, so after dinner you can stay for the party. The food, on the other hand, is decent, at best.  


The tastiest thing of the night was the shrimp crackers (AED19) hanging on the table lamps, the bag begging to be ripped apart and eaten before the other items arrive. The crackers are the real deal, flavourful with the deep essence of seafood, much like what you’d find in Thailand.


So much better than the Dynamite shrimp (AED45) that’s essentially deep fried shrimp tossed in a crap load of Miracle Whip. A really heavy starter that’s probably beloved, if you like that tangy zesty mayo wannabe.


If things aren’t great, smother it with condiments seems to be the mantra at Miyagi. The sushi aburi roll (AED55) is not flame torched, but rather drowned with avocado cream so you can’t taste an ounce of the salmon wrapping a huge piece of rice.


The Dragon roll (AED55) was even worse; it must have been pre-made earlier in the day as the rice was hard and dry. The menu describes it as being tataki style, which generally means lightly seared at other restaurants. At Miyagi, it translates to fully cooking the salmon and tuna to the point that they taste like they came out of a can, and of course drizzling so much sauce over it that they hope you can’t tell the difference.


There was a chance that the beef sisig (AED49) could be better – at least the flavours were nice – but the meat still so over cooked rendering it like eating bits of leather on crispy wonton crackers.


Of the mains, the curries are the safest bet. Both the green and red versions were decent (AED59 for chicken and AED65 for shrimp), but neither really packing much heat. Not even the red one, which had three chilies listed beside it on the menu, unless you actually have a bite of the bird’s eye chili.



Nonetheless, they’re better than the mee goreng handmade egg noodles (AED49). What it lacks in wok hay, Miyagi tries to make up for dumping more sauce on, but even that couldn’t rehydrate their dry hard tofu. Sadly, I’ve whipped up better noodles at home on a week night with a bottle of store-bought Szechwan sauce.


Aside from the shrimp chips, the only saving grace of the evening was the fact that it was Lady’s Night and our waiter was so friendly and attentive.

Interestingly, for a country that doesn’t allow alcohol to be served outside of hotels, the ones that do sell spirits also offers all-you-can-drink options. At Mr. Miyagi, on Wednesday nights their Lady’s Night menu provides women a choice of two dishes and two hours of unlimited drinks for only AED99. So, the fact that our waiter was on the ball with refills meant I developed a nice buzz even before the food arrived. Not enough for me to actually like the food, of course, but still a memorable night.

Overall mark - 5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 Address: Media One Hotel

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

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:
  • Asian District

Mr Miyagi's - Media One Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Soos (Toronto)


Not everything at Soos will taste like traditional Malaysian food. But then, they’re not trying to feed you typical dishes. Instead, Soos aims to use Malaysian flavours and ingredients in a modern manner, bringing street food to a restaurant environment.

Malaysians are known for their curries, which tends to be eaten as a snack rather than a main course. It’s thinner but still filled with tons of spices and flavours, milder than Indian curries and contains less coconut than Thai.

The curry accompanying Soos roti ($9) uses a base of dhal (a yellow lentil curry) and tops it with crispy fried curry leaf for some extra zing. But, what makes this starter incredible is the hot, fluffy and flakey roti that arrives with it. The lovely toasted airiness makes it so good I could eat it plain and these are truthfully the best roti I’ve ever had. If you’re sharing, one is not enough… get an extra roti for $2.


Meanwhile, the pork belly pancakes ($13) is so rich and decadent that an order can even be shared amongst four people. A thick slab of pork belly, covered in a thick sticky sweet and vinegary soy, is well rendered so the layers of lard aren’t too dense. Yet, it doesn’t just melt-in-your-mouth either – as you bite into it there’s still a chewiness that allows you to savour the flavours.


The crispy taro root pancake the pork belly sits on is fairly delicate, the root vegetable made into a batter rather than the slivers used in “bird’s nest” type dishes. So while the pancake is crispy, there’s still a soft chewiness in the centre. Although enjoyable, the dish could really use something fresh on the side, the small bit of scallions on top isn’t enough.

Something like the prosperity tossed slaw ($16) could work. I don’t generally love salad, but their slaw has some serious flavours and textures. Made with over 20 ingredients there’s refreshing, crunchy, savoury, sweet, and spicy elements all melded into one. There’s also a restraint to their yuzu plum dressing, which adds acidity but doesn’t render the slaw too tangy. Instead, it leaves a savoury taste to the salad.


The dish I’ve ordered on multiple occasions is their laksa ($18). While it normally contains chicken and prawn, Soos can transform it into a vegetarian version by adding extra tofu puffs (great for soaking up the hot and spicy curry broth) and more vegetables - the crunchy leafy gai lan and meaty oyster mushrooms are a great combination in lieu of meat. And really, the laksa is really all about the aromatic spicy coconut broth. Don’t let a drop go to waste … in hindsight, it would be perfect for dipping. Reminder to self: get an order of roti with the laska.


As an aside for vegetarians: while Soos already has a selection of meatless items, if you visit on Tuesday and Wednesday (previously Monday), their sister restaurant Fat Choi offers an entirely plant-based menu.

In general, their noodles are tasty. The char kway teow ($17) spends plenty of time in the wok, the flat rice noodles tossed with soy and their house-made sambal chili sauce so it develops tons of flavour and emits a heavenly smell. The dish is finished with egg, chives, and crunchy bean sprouts all topped with four massive tiger prawns. Even though the noodles are spicy already, Soos provides more of the sambal on the side for those who can really handle the spice. If you don’t use this on the char kway teow save it for the other dishes. Love the sauce? You can even get a jar to go ($11).


A bit of sambal works really well with the rendang beef short ribs ($28) since the heat helps to cut through the richness of the meat. While the rendang curry is blended with spices and Asian aromatics (ginger and garlic), it’s not a spicy sauce. The short rib, like the pork belly, is tender but not braised to the point that it’s melting away, there’s a slightly chewy consistency that allows you to taste the beef.


I just wish the dish had more curry to go with all the jasmine rice and roti. Oh, and of course, you’ll want an extra order of roti to wrap around the beefy short ribs so order it at the beginning or wait the eight minutes (you’ll need the breather).

After all of Soos flavourful and filling dishes, if you’re still hungry, the pisang goreng ($10) is a decent dessert. After all, what’s more Malaysian than deep fried bananas? It’s a surprisingly sweet dessert for an Asian restaurant – the combination of burnt toffee ice cream and candied nuts may be too much. With the ice cream being so sweet, the nuts could simply be toasted. Better yet, a more neutral flavour ice cream (like coconut) would be an ideal choice and leave more of the banana flavours intact.


But then, you don’t come to Soos if you want tepid tasting dishes. Their menu is designed to bombard your taste buds with flavour! And through all the dips, broths, and sauces, the most important side kick is… of course … an extra order of roti. Just get it.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 94 Ossington 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:

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


SukhoThai (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 52A Wellington Street East
Website: http://www.sukhothaifood.ca/
Type of Meal: Dinner



Having heard much about Sukho Thai, when they opened the new Wellington location (accepting reservations), I rounded up a friend to try their Thai classics. Housed in the former Hernandos Hideaway, the second restaurant is much larger and during our visit scored a table on the raised level right by the window – great for people watching!  SukhoThai was founded by the husband-and-wife duo that later started Khao San Road (also since departed) and is now being run by the husband’s parents.


The garlic shrimp ($10) is incredible and I highly recommend if you ever visit. Aside from the flavourful breading (garlicky with a slight sweetness) and crisp crunch, the shrimp itself is just cooked so well.  You have to taste it as it’s hard to describe, something about the texture is how I imagine all fried shrimp should taste like.

SukhoThai offers two types of pad thai, we went with the “SukhoThai” version ($14). The noodles were not overly saucy (how I enjoy it) and cooked well allowing them to retain a slight springiness. But, something about the sauce’s flavours weren’t for me – too sour and nutty. Possibly, it’s the tamarind paste base they use, which adds a tang that ruins the pad thai. A plus is that the tamarind does give the dish a wonderful dark brown colour without having to resort to using fake colouring.

Since we’ve never tried the gaeng masaman curry ($12) we felt it was an opportunity to expand our experience with Thai cuisine.  Unlike the typical red, green and yellow curries, this has a citrus tang to it from the lemongrass.  Although there’s still a hint of coconut milk this becomes secondary to the spiciness and sourness and makes it lighter tasting.  The ingredients are simple with just the protein (in our case chicken), potatoes and the sauce.

Returning one day for lunch, I tried their khao soi ($13 at lunch, $14 at dinner) intrigued by the promise of curry and noodles. The bowl was beautifully presented with fried crispy noodles on top, which when broken up and mixed into the curry sauce added a great contrasting crunch against the soft noodles.



Having gotten the “spicy” choice, it indeed had heat and kick to it – this dish would be great at warming you up during the cooler months. The soup was a delicious mix of curry, chili oil, coconut milk and something nutty giving it a great depth of flavour. Cubes of soft beef brisket were mixed throughout with the thick egg noodles.  This would be a dish I’d order again.

Honestly, I didn’t enjoy all the “new” dishes I’ve tried and next time will go back to the regular pad thai and green curry combo.  But, I always welcome the opportunity to expand my experience – some dishes that I haven’t even tried while travelling to Thailand.  Often, I believe our tastes have become accustomed to a safer and more “Westernized” version of the cuisine so I appreciate SukhoThai’s willingness to make us push past this.  If you’re looking for a non-conventional take on Thai dishes, this is the place for you.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

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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!



Sukho Thai on Urbanspoon

Restoran Malaysia (Richmond Hill)

Location: Richmond Hill, Canada
Address: 815 Major Mackenzie Drive East
Website: http://www.restoranmalaysia.com/
Type of Meal: Dinner


You may be unimpressed when you drive into the plaza where the restaurant is located – it’s tiny and a tad dated.  But, once you make it into Restoran Malaysia you’ll be surprised to see how spacious it is.  However, even though this place is large enough to seat what seems like 100 people; they are always busy whenever I go.
As you enter, you’re greeted by a large laughing Buddha statute and the wonderful essence of spices.  Large dark wooden tables, rectangular and circular, fill both sides of the restaurants.  The entire interior is decorated with dark wooden walls and large structured light fixtures.  Even the decor hints at the warm comfort foods to come.

Given it was bitterly cold outside, we decide to warm up with some tom yum goong soup ($5) to start.  I know what you’re thinking – isn’t this from Thailand?  Well, according to Wikipedia, in countries like Malaysia, that are close to Thailand, they use “tom yum” to describe any spicy soup.  And indeed the soup had some kick to it.  The broth was good and well flavoured; I would say just the right amount of spice as it wasn’t overly hot.  For those who are accustomed to the Thailand version, this is more tomato based and has less lemon grass in it.  It’s good, but not as good as the spring rolls or satay skewer appetizers that I’ve had previously.  So, if you’re only going to come once, I suggest sticking with those instead.


Tom yum goong (1)
In the mood for more spice, we ordered the chicken red curry ($12) with a side of steamed rice ($1.50) and two roti ($4).  When you come here you have to order the roti!  These thin, chewy, toasted sheets of slightly sweet home made roti are served warm and are perfect for dipping into Restoran Malaysia’s curries.  I love them so much I frankly could wrap noodles in there and still eat them.  At $2 a sheet you can order as many as you want for the table - I find one per person is usually enough if you also have other carbs.
Home-made roti (2)


Their menu has two curry sections: “Home Made Roti Canai / Prata” and “Entrees”.  The curries in the “Home Made Roti Canai / Prata” section is a smaller portion of yellow curry that’s not as spicy – a good option for those who may not love curry but want to try it with the roti.  I prefer the curries in the “Entrees” area as they are fierier and I like the vegetables that are mixed in with them.  The red curry we ordered (2 chillies) was the perfect spiciness for my palette.

To balance out the heat, we ordered Kuala Lumpur style hockien mee ($10).  Thick chewy noodles are stir fried with lot of oyster sauce (?) and seafood and vegetables.  The dish is slightly sweet and is a good contrast to the rest of our choices.  If you’ve ever had Shanghai fried noodles, this dish is similar, except the noodles are thicker and covered with more sauce.
Kuala Lumpur style hockien mee (3)

Two dishes we didn’t order this time, but are my tried and true favourites include:


  1. Nasi goring ($10), an Indonesian style fried rice that has a hint of spiciness mixed throughout.  The rice is topped with a fried egg, which adds a lovely silkiness when it’s broken and the yolk oozes out to coat the rice.  A handful of crispy shrimp chips also accompany the rice and are more flavourful then the ones you typically find at Chinese restaurants.
  2. Nasi goring (4)
  3. Penang char kuay teow ($10) or black peppered beef kuay teow ($12), both are stir fried flat rice noodles except the first has shrimp and the second shrimp and beef.  The noodles have an amazing essence (or what the Chinese would call “wok hay”) and also a hint of spice.
Penang char kuay teow (5)


The service can be a hit or miss in this restaurant.  The problem is they are just so busy!  Even so, the staff generally come at the right times – to take you order, bring you the food and give you the bill.  You may find it a little slow to get a refill on your water, which could be a problem for those who can’t handle the spiciness!


 Overall mark - 9 out of 10



____________________________
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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Photo Sources:
  1. Tom yum goong - Bon Eats (http://www.flickr.com/photos/43114256@N00/7321070656/)
  2. Roti - Sifu Renka (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/sets/72157629236027726/detail/)
  3. Kuala Lumpur style hockien mee - TKOlive's Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tkolive/page2/)
  4. Nasi goring - Foodspotting (https://www.foodspotting.com/89040-sh3r0y)
  5. Penang char kuay teow - Sifu Renka (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/sets/72157629236027726/detail/)

Restoran Malaysia on Urbanspoon