Showing posts with label fast casual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fast casual. Show all posts

Miya Bhai (Toronto)

All pictures are courtesy of Parv.ca
Like many family-run businesses, Miya Bhai is a cozy restaurant. Tucked away on Bathurst, just a quick walk from the station, the store front has discrete signage so look for their brightly coloured tables instead.


The menu consists of dishes based on their mother’s recipes, incorporating all the flavours they love and grew up with, but lightened so customers leave feeling satisfied but not overloaded. Even the sauces used in the dishes are made in house, to ensure the tastes are on par with momma’s creations.


The build-your-own menu allows customers to customize creations to their liking. For first time visitors, the options may seem endless so there is a Signature selection menu where there are pre-built combinations. I tried their best seller, the vegan butter chicken tacos ($11), where the “chicken” was actually marinated tofu  prepared tandoori style, which it ends up getting a lovely flavour and texture that truthfully doesn’t taste like chicken but seemed like paneer.


With crunchy lettuce and kachumber (a refreshing salad made with cucumber, tomato, onions, lemon and chili peppers) the tacos were messy to eat, but all the ingredients mixed with the avocado mayo made for a tasty creation. A light heat lingers slightly on the tongue afterwards, but not overwhelming hot.

After the two huge tacos, you likely won’t need any more food, but for a small add on, the vegan samosa ($2) always hits the spot. A thin pastry is stuffed with well spiced potatoes and vegetables to create a palm sized samosa. I liked that they kept the potatoes in cubes, rather than mashing it, to help add texture to the starter. Just make sure to pour the spicy tamarind sauce into the samosa to avoid having everything fall out.


For something to stave off the spiciness or even as a sweet ending their house made drinks ($3.50 each) are delicious choices. The vegan mango refresh (also offered in a non-vegan format) takes mango, with its pulp, and mixes is it with a creamy non-dairy milk – it’s a very full-flavoured lassi. Meanwhile, the strawberry yoghurt drink is silky and sweet that it almost tastes like a milkshake.

For meat lovers, don’t worry! Miya Bhai also offers a host of non-vegetarian options including beef seekh kabobs, butter chicken, lamb kofta, and tandoori salmon (the beef seekh kabob roll, $11.50, is shown below).  


While the signature selection was a great start, I highly recommend building your own and making a vegan butter chicken biri-rice bowl ($12.50). Having tried a bit of the rice on its own, it’s a flavourful base that’s salty and spicy – even by itself the rice was delicious. Once covered with paneer like tofu, sweet corn, crispy onions, and smothered with cilantro garlic aioli, I can just imagine how delicious it could be!


As the weather turns cold, I crave a bowl of something hearty and filling. At Miya Bhai, thankfully the bowl is also filled with flavours and won’t leave you feeling gluttonous.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 938 Bathurst Street
 Website: Their Facebook Page

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:


Paintbox Bistro (Toronto)


With what seems like the recent revitalization of Regent Park, it’s hard to imagine that PaintBox Bistro is already six years old. In celebration of the milestone, they threw a party where customers can try any of their mains for only $6 (regular menu prices provided below for reference purposes) with $6 wine to boot. 

As soon as I stepped into Paintbox’s airy space, I felt healthier. The restaurant is a mixture of large tables and couches so you can go and read a book or gather a group for a scrum. Set as a quick service restaurant, guests order at the café area and then are provided with a sign so you can sit and wait for the food. 

Small eats like pastries are available and then there are a few options that are in between a snack and full on meal. The clumps of meaty brown butter white beans makes the Ontario harvest flatbread ($11) surprisingly hearty and along with the crunchy pumpkin seeds, melted brie, carrot puree, and fresh arugula creates a well toasted flatbread that’s filled with flavours and textures. This works great as a shared starter or a main if you’re in the mood for a smaller bite.


The mac, cheese & greens ($14) is also rich and creamy, the four cheese sauce balanced by broccoli florets. The kale that’s mixed into the pasta gives it an interesting taste – one friend felt it almost tasted like bacon. While I didn’t find it overly smoky, the kale was a nice addition to the pasta adding 
an extra flavour and textural element.


What a great idea to wrap the enchilada filling in collard greens instead of a tortilla! Paintbox’s enchilada ($14) is stuffed with spicy rice and a protein mixture that gives the filling a ground meat texture. In the end, the creation tastes like a delicious cross between a cabbage roll and enchilada. The roasted pepper coulis and scallion lime aioli were great additions that provided the traditional enchilada flavour but with an extra flair.


The only disappointing dish was the tofu green curry ($15). Firstly, the tofu was baked/fried so long that it became dry and hard (even being steeped in curry couldn’t rehydrate it). Moreover, the curry was too sour, which is strange as I expected it to be fragrant and coconutty since the menu describes it as “Thai-inspired”.


If a meal of plant based dishes doesn’t have you leaving the restaurant feeling good, at least know that by eating at Paintbox Bistro you’re supporting their ethos of providing job opportunities to those living in the neighbourhood and being mindful of their environmental footprint (there was no disposable cutlery used despite the fast casual environment). And with that, I left Paintbox feeling as snug as an enchilada wrapped in collard greens.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 555 Dundas Street East 

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:

Paintbox Catering & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Burgeroom 香港開飯喇 (Hong Kong)


I know what you’re thinking – why would you visit Hong Kong and eat burgers? It’s a city filled with delicious Chinese food and you’re eating burgers?! While I’m generally a tourist who “eats locally”; after a week, even with all the tasty Chinese options, I start to crave something different. That’s when I turned to Openrice (the Yelp and Zomato of Hong Kong) to see what international restaurants the locals are visiting. One of their top choice seems to be Burgeroom, which specializes in gourmet burgers.

The restaurant lies on a small street called Food Avenue, running parallel to Paterson, which is filled with restaurants – a safe bet if you’re unable to get a table at the no reservations Burgeroom. As a fast-casual type eatery, you review the menu tableside then head to the cashier to order and pay, where they’ll give you a number to place at the table.

If you love cheese, there’s the mega cheese burger ($105), which tops a beef patty with 80g of fondue-style melted cheddar. Eat it quickly, as the cheese hardens fast. Additionally, it can get messy – you’d expect this from the molten cheese, but also because of poor layering skills: the kitchen places the lettuce and tomato on the bottom (traditionally placed on top of the patty), causing everything to slide around. The burger could also benefit from onions (to add a bit of crunchy texture) and the tomato should have the hard stem cut out. Toppings aside, at least the beef patty was juicy and the bun fluffy and soft.


The batter used to deep fry the soft-shell crab burger ($108) sorely needed more seasoning and was applied too thick, rendering the crab tasteless. Sure, there was tartar sauce on the bun, but this was way too sweet and tasted more like Miracle Whip than real tartar sauce. While the lettuce goes well with the crustacean, I’m not sure if the tomato was the best choice – again something like onion or pickles would have given the burger more texture. Thankfully, the soft-shell crab was not overdone, was relatively fresh, and a sizeable portion.


Perhaps the best part of the meal was the twister fries ($28) – hot from the fryer so it was immensely crispy. Moreover, the basket was generous and definitely large enough for sharing. If only the cheddar on the mega burger was still molten it’d be a great dip for the fries - believe me, I tried.


For a place that has won a lot of accolades, the awards are likely for the menu’s opulence and wide range of toppings. After all, where else do you find burgers topped with a king prawn omelette, Hiroshima oyster, or scallop? There’s even the option to add foie gras or double foie gras to any burger. The novelty ingredients are great, but Burgeroom needs to focus on the basics as well – making sure there’s ingredients that complement the protein and everything’s layered correctly. Perhaps that’s a lesson: don’t go to Hong Kong to eat burgers.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong,
 Address: 50 Paterson 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!

Mary Be Kitchen (Toronto)


Mary Be Kitchen is light, bright, and airy … pretty much an Instagrammer’s dream. With the sparse wooden table tops and touches of white and blue, I can just imagine the number of strategically placed purse, sunglass, book, and food photos that will soon be geotagged against the restaurant.

Something about the atmosphere makes me want a pretty drink. Normally, for breakfast, I stick with a hot pot of English Breakfast. But, after seeing the atmosphere, I switched to a latte instead … actually, on second thought, make that a lavender latte ($4.95).



I don’t know what I was thinking: aside from the flora in a gin-based drink, it’s generally an ingredient I wish was left out. But, everything is so darn pretty that I felt the need to order the girliest morning drink they served. For the first half, while hot, the aromatic element went nicely with the warm milk and golden tasting espresso. Maybe I do like lavender, I thought to myself. Once the latte became cold and I’ve already had so many sips, I remember why it’s a nauseating ingredient.

Mary Be follows the fast-casual concept, ideal for the weekday lunch crowds in the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood. On weekends, it’s still an easy-going place: order, receive a number, find any empty table, and soon the food comes to you. Their menu consists of various salads, proteins, stews, and breakfast items that you can order separately or mix-and-match. The menu is limited to breakfast options on weekends with several other brunch choices.

The dahl and eggs ($13.95) is part of their brunch menu. A big bowl of red lentil curry where the pulse is soft and thick. Mary Be’s dahl has the customary hit of spice but also a tanginess that’s mellowed by fresh diced tomatoes. I only wish it was hotter, especially since the two poached eggs were so runny that a hot stew could have cooked them more. If you’re like me and enjoy the yolk oozing and creamy instead of leaking upon first poke, ask for them to be done medium.



With a sizeable piece of grilled organic multigrain sourdough toast and a side of leafy greens you’ll leave stuffed, but not feeling glutinous. In fact, I left feeling healthy – not in a juice fast sort of way, rather like I had a well-balanced hearty filling meal that also happens to be plant-based. Despite not having an ounce of meat, I stayed full until dinner after the 9am breakfast.

Don’t worry, for meat eaters, Mary Be does serve protein (they source their chicken, beef, and bacon from Beretta Farms). It just so happens they offer a lot of vegetarian options as well. These recipes were developed by owner Sarah Huggins, a long-time food blogger, who’s made her healthy recipes into a restaurant. Talk about living the dream. Maybe that’s why Mary Be Kitchen’s dining area is so white and heavenly.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 21B St. Clair Avenue 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:


Mary Be Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cluck Clucks Chicken & Waffles (Toronto)


Maybe it’s the fried chicken or perhaps it’s the whimsical cartoons adorning the wall, but Cluck Clucks makes me happy. Located at the base of a building, the restaurant’s located on the intersecting small street (not directly on the Esplanade); the surrounding environment rather tranquil as you don’t get the rush of street traffic going by. I can finally relax for a second, while I tuck into the chicken.


The playful theme continues on their menu. Sure, you can call something a fried chicken sandwich, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, at the restaurant, it’s referred to as the Cluck Yeah! ($12.79 for the sandwich or $14.99 for a combo). Comprised of a juicy marinated chicken breast that’s lightly battered and fried, the crispy exterior is loaded with chipotle aioli, dill mayo and creamy coleslaw - there’s no shortage of sauce (I used my fair share of napkins). Yet, what makes it so good is the jalapeno and cheddar infused waffle that replaces a bun – it’s slightly sweet and when you get a bite with jalapeno everything just seems right in the world.


If you’re feeling particularly hungry, the Mother Clucker ($12.79 for the meal or $14.99 for a combo) will satisfy. Arriving with three pieces of deep fried bone-in chicken (two drumsticks and a thigh), it also sat on a jalapeno and cheddar waffle. In this dish, the chicken is king. Every piece oozed moisture encapsulated within a crispy coating. The batter itself was kept neutral; so, if you find fried chicken too salty, Cluck Clucks would be good for you. 

For those who want to enhance the flavours, Cluck Clucks offers five house-made sauces for you to dip into. Their signature ‘Cluck’ sauce fools the eyes as it looks creamy but after tasting you’d swear it’s a sweet and sour glaze with a light hit of spice. For something a little stronger, the chipotle aioli has that nice spicy kick that goes especially great with the fries, but I found a tad strong for dunking a drumstick into. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the dill mayo, much mellower compared to the other sauces, and had a refreshing quality against the hot chicken. 

Patience is key: Cluck Cluck’s chicken so good because everything is fresh and made-to-order – they’re not pre-cooking the chicken and then finishing it off with a quick fry after you order. Consequently, I had to wait 15 minutes sitting in a room filled with heavenly fried aromas … but it was worth it. While scouring the surroundings I realize they offer Ritual; next time I’ll just place my order at the office using the app before heading over. After all, don’t we all just need some time to relax and get greasy?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 222 The Esplanade

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!

Cluck Clucks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato