Showing posts with label garlic naan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garlic naan. Show all posts

The Copper Chimney (Toronto) for delivery


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

On walks around the neighbourhood, we’ve seen The Copper Chimney on many occasions. It’s an Indian restaurant I vaguely recall reading about in the Toronto Star, when Amy Pataki noted it’s an above average choice in Toronto.

“One day we’ll try it.” I’ve always thought, and that one day finally came following a dinner elsewhere in the neighbourhood. As we were walking towards the patio of that restaurant, the air was filled with the most heavenly aroma of spices. We remembered that intoxicating smell and ordered delivery the very next day.

Fried appetizers like the mixed vegetable pakora ($5.50) are terrible for delivery. Pakoras I’ve had in the past have been fluffy fritters studded with shredded vegetables, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Copper Chimney’s are dry like food court falafel that have been left on the warmer all day. It’s such a shame, as I can see the large pieces of onions and carrots in the batter. It’s just so overdone (or perhaps fried during lunch and merely re-heated for dinner) that I had to wash it down with a drink.

To lower food waste, I salvaged the pakoras for brunch. Similar to making pot stickers, I put a cold pakora into a heated frying pan with some oil and water. Place a lid on it to allow the water to steam into the pakora and when the patty gets hot, remove the lid allowing the remaining water to evaporate and a crust to develop on the pakora again.

While it’s still a little dry, the finished patty is a lot better than before. In fact, I could decipher other vegetables used in the recipe: cauliflower, eggplant, and bits of a root vegetable. The individual spices also shine through more. If only the pakoras were fluffier and less cooked, I could see these being amazing.

Another overcooked dish was the lucknowi reshmi kebab ($14). Maybe tandoori is something that must be eaten at the restaurant, as Pataki’s review mentioned it being moist and delicious. What arrived at our house was covered in a tasty spice mixture (like a slightly spicy saffron), but so dry that it’s like eating cubes of chicken breast that has been reheated in a microwave and then cooled down again. Another gulp of drink to get this down.

The best part of the dish was the creamed coriander and mint chutney dipping sauce. It’s such a great refreshing bright yoghurt sauce that I tried it with everything in the meal. If you don’t get the kebab, it’s even worth ordering the condiment solely to put on other items.

Finally, the meal improved when I turned my attention to the saag paneer ($12), the spinach and onion puree so fresh and vibrant tasting, unlike so many other places where it’s rendered to a dark mush. Large cubes of soft Indian cheese are mixed throughout, these were thankfully left neutral and remained moist.

The saag goes wonderfully with basmati rice ($4) or garlic naan ($3.50), both sides arrive in huge portions (the naan two times larger than ones found in other restaurants). I just wished we ordered more curries to go with the grains.

Instead, I had to try their shrimp biryani ($17) and wasn’t disappointed. Despite it looking like another order of basmati when we opened the lid, get through the first layer and you’re greeted with a lovely fragrant rice that’s filled with flavours and a kick of heat that had me reaching for the raita. Here the shrimp were cooked nicely, still plump and tender despite trying this dish last.

In the end, I debated what mark to give The Copper Chimney as how well the dishes were prepared is so drastically different. If I had skipped the pakora and kebab and stuck with saucy curries, the experience would have been much better.

During this time where some restaurants are solely relying on takeout and delivery, I suggest trimming down menus to only include dishes that travel well. Not only will it simplify operations, but also ensures what makes it into a customer’s home are quality items you want associated with your restaurant. Stale pakoras and chicken jerky? Probably not something The Copper Chimney wants on their menu.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2050 Avenue Road
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
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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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Junoon (New York)



As soon as I entered Junoon’s swanky Patiala dining room, I knew this dinner would be different from past Indian meals. I couldn’t help but chuckle after settling into the plush velvet chair and taking in the ornate surroundings - Junoon describes the Patiala room as the area free of tablecloths providing relaxed service. Sure, the tables are free from linens, but the attentive service and swapping of cutlery between courses isn’t your run-of-the-mill relaxed family restaurant.

At first, the ‘ghost pepper’ description in the murgh tikka ($23) had us worried – should I order a mango lassi to have on hand, just in case? Luckily, the chili wasn’t too strong, although you could taste it in the background, even with the chicken’s skin removed. The bare meat was flavourful and juicy, great on its own or with a smear of the pistacho purée.

Junoon NYC chicken tikka

To combat the spiciness, I suggest ordering the eggplant chaat ($15): the heavy drizzles of raita and tamarind chutney really helps calm any heat. Moreover, chaat, traditionally a street food, is rather plain on its own. However, when the chicken and deep fried circles of battered eggplant are combined, they do come together rather nicely.

Junoon NYC eggplant chaat

The shahi lamb shank ($36) arrives standing in its full glory. The sous vide lamb is soft and succulent, while the black cumin yoghurt curry mixed with garam masala is flavourful without completely covering the meat … I had my fair share of the gravy spooned onto pulao rice ($6). What a deliciously hearty main.

Junoon NYC lamb shank

Junoon is great for those who want flavourful Indian dishes without spiciness. Although I enjoy heat, sometimes the sheer amount of chilies added into sauces become too much and leaves the tongue scorched and numb. Junoon applies more complex flavours - one visit to their basement and you’ll find an entire room filled with jars of spices combined for seasoning dishes.

Even a simple garlic naan ($7) is unlike any other – you can actually taste the herb, it’s like eating garlic bread in naan form.

Trust me, try the hara paneer kofta ($23) and dig in as soon as it arrives. The hot crispy paneer dumplings are something else: break into the soft crumbly centre and a fragrant cheese aroma is emitted. Meanwhile, the green chili spinach (?) purée is neutral enough against the mild soft paneer. If only there were more of the crispy mustard greens, wow do these add a pop of flavour!

Junoon NYC paneerAt first, I had doubts about Junoon’s authenticity. When first seated for our 7:45pm reservation, the dining room was only about 70% filled and it was a pretty diverse crowd. It wasn’t until later, towards the end of the meal (around 9:00), the room filled to capacity and my husband and I became the only non-Indian diners at the restaurant.

Still, it was the eavesdropping on a neighbouring table that truly confirmed Junoon’s legitimacy. As a son cautiously asks his parents if the food was okay, the mother looks up from her plate and enthusiastically nods while the father chimes it that it’s good. So, if my word isn’t enough, then trust these strangers.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: New York, USA
 Address: 27 W 24th 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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

Little India (Toronto)


I have doubts when visiting a restaurant and the customer base doesn’t represent the ethnic origin of the establishment. Little India is one of those places… possibly due to its central Queen West location close to the Entertainment District. Nonetheless, since they’ve been operating for years and are generally rated well, a dinner seemed in order, despite their lack of Indian clientele.

For anyone who likes chicken fingers, Little India’s chicken pakora ($7.75) is a fantastic take on the classic dish. Juicy pieces of white meat is lightly breaded in a colourful but rather tasteless batter and deep fried until it’s ever so slightly crunchy. On their own, the pakora are underwhelming; but, a dip into the sweet and spicy tangy tamarind sauce does loads to improve the starter.


The lamb vindaloo ($15.50) had the basic hit of fiery heat you’d expect from the dish, but lacked the vinegar and herbs in the background that makes it more than just a spicy curry. The lamb itself was fine – soft enough and not gamey – however, the portion rather meagre with large potato chunks filling a third of the bowl.


What I’ve come to realize is vegetarian dishes are often better choices at Indian restaurants. There were large pieces of paneer in the tikka masala ($14.95). The creamy tomato sauce just ever so slightly spicy but not overwhelming to detract from the cheesy firm tofu texture of the paneer. The eggplant bharta ($12.50) was wonderfully fragrant and flavourful; it didn’t depend on chilies, instead relying on sweet chopped caramelized onions. It’s the perfect dish for those who can’t handle heat and goes equally well smeared onto naan or combined with pulao rice ($4.25).


Little India’s garlic naan ($4.25) is great – chewy, fluffy and has a light smokiness without tasting burnt. The salty garlicky topping goes especially well the eggplant bharta, definitely consider pairing as an appetizer.


Having tried rasmalai and gulab jamun on previous occasions and finding both overly sweet, I was delighted to find additional options on Little India’s menu. The kheer ($3.95), a rice pudding, uses a similar sweet cardamom infused milk base as rasmalai and is heavy on the sauce compared to rice (imagine a sweet congee). Despite the crystal shards in the kulfi ($4.75), it was my favourite of the two sweets. The sweetened milk ice cream is cold and hard (give it some time to melt), but after getting through the crystals finishes off creamy with a nuttiness from the finely chopped pistachio and almonds. Of all the desserts, the sugariness is subdued and ideal for those who want a lighter dessert.


Perhaps I’ve been too judgmental – if a restaurant attracts diverse clientele, they shouldn’t be penalized for the hospitality. After all, they may not necessarily “tone down” their menu; factors such as service and location matter as well. Little India’s service was impeccable – friendly and everything served quickly and correctly. Little perks like the complimentary discs of crispy papadum with crunchy carrot chutney are also hard to turn down. Give everything a chance, you’ll never know until you try.


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 255 Queen Street West
 Website: www.littleindia.ca

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:


Little India Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Masala Zone (London)

Location: London, England
Address: 48 Floral Street
Website: www.masalazone.com
Type of Meal: Dinner 
 



Having heard that Britain is one of the best places to experience Indian food outside of India, I couldn’t leave without eating some. Originally, my husband and I were planning on visiting Dishroom, based on a suggestion from a friend.  But, upon arriving we were advised it’d be over an hour wait, so we walked a block to Masala Zone instead. Being a chain restaurant, we went to the Covenant Garden location on a Thursday and also found a line (albeit much shorter and inside the restaurant).  It moved fairly quickly and the plethora of dolls and trinkets decorating the restaurant provided entertainment; we were seated within 15 minutes.

Marsala Zone is known for their thali, a platter of little dishes that makes up an entire meal (minus dessert). The combination of items provides a variety of tastes and textures and is supposed to encompass all the food groups to provide a healthy balanced meal. We decided to get a chicken mangalore grand thali (£12.30), a single order of chilli paneer (£8.10) and some garlic naan (£2.65) to share.

The grand thali is made up of:

·       A canapé – I think we received an onion bhajee that night.  Essentially, it’s an onion and lentil fritter with various spices in it (cumin and coriander).  It was good enough, although could have been better if they were quickly refried and served hot & crispy.

·       Choice of curry off their menu - The chicken mangalore was tender being made from thigh meat. The sauce was pleasant and rich, with strong fragrant spices and hint of coconut without being overly creamy.

·       Two vegetables (one green and one root) – Surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed the cubes of curried potatoes and peas.  It’s so simple but went well with everything when I could take a piece of chicken, potato and wrap.  I don’t recall the other vegetable but have a recollection it was slightly pickled and not something I enjoyed.

·       Dal – The lentil stew was great!  I’ve only ever had it in the drier form in West Indian cooking when it’s added to a roti.  This creamier thick saucy version is so much better and could easily be eaten on its own with rice.

·       Raita – watery cucumber yoghurt that helped calm the spices from our two chili dishes. 

·       Indian salad – I honestly can’t remember what made it Indian, perhaps the dressing.  But, it was like any other garden salad with slivers of carrots.

·       Papadum and chutney – My first experience having a papadum, these are amazing! In Toronto, we don’t normally get these with our meals so I will be on the lookout for them. It’s thin, crispy (without being fried) and made from some sort of flavoured flour so that there’s some savouriness to it. I didn’t really care for the chutney so ended eating it topped with rice, dal and curry instead.   

·       A whole wheat chapatti – thin Indian bread that reminded me of flour tortillas but had more of an elastic chewiness to it.

·       Rice – really wasn’t the best quality but just fine when smothered with sauce.

Normally, my husband and I always order a spinach paneer; Marsala Zone didn’t have this so we opted for the chilli rendition instead. There were generous chunks of paneer in it, texture much like the versions I normally have and akin to a firm tofu. The sauce definitely had heat to it and reached my upper limit – I had to rely on water and raita to calm my tongue. Interestingly, it was topped with crispy onion slivers, which didn’t really add much to the dish but was good on its own.

Sadly, the garlic naan was the least impressive item for the meal.  I generally love naan but found Marsala Zone’s too oily, not hot enough and too dense. Perhaps it’s a matter of taste, but I enjoy mine left in the tandoori oven longer so that there are slightly charred bits on the edges and large bubbles throughout.

Although I can’t comment on whether Marsala Zone was as good as Dishroom, I have to admit that it was one of the best tasting Indian meals I’ve had. I love the idea of the grand thali; it’s a great option for those who want to try a lot of things at once and is great value for only £12.

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!


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