Showing posts with label kesar phirni. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kesar phirni. Show all posts

Adrak (Richmond Hill)

Adrak isn’t a place you simply stumble upon. Located at the base of an office building, in the dark you merely see their glowing sign - if you’re looking for it – then still need to drive around the block to enter the complex at the back of the building. While the restaurant doesn’t benefit from a direct view from Hwy 7, they do occupy sizeable space and is one of the poshest Indian restaurants I’ve visited in Toronto. Adrak also has a contemporary vibe: there’s no glint of red or gold, instead the comforting dark browns and cool creams that is reminiscent of a steak house … if a steak house features a huge tandoor oven in their open concept kitchen.

Diners are treated to an amuse bouche to start, a fried cheese ball that’s could be an arancini topped with a spiced curry. It’s unclear if the bite is authentic, but who cares, it's tasty.

Adrak’s menu is extensive, containing several dishes rarely found elsewhere. Feeling adventurous, we picked out a couple of unfamiliar appetizers to try such as the stuffed potato wheel ($15) where a potato is hollowed out, coated with poppy seeds, and stuffed with a cheese and spinach mixture. While it tastes pretty good, I could do without the raisins used in the filling and the coating could use more seasoning.

The soya malai chaap ($13) is sometimes referred to as vegetarian chicken in Indian cuisine, as the soy protein is molded to resemble pieces of meat. To me they look like Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes) covered in mayonnaise. While the ingredient has a dense texture, it doesn’t resemble the consistency of tofu. Again, the appetizer could benefit from more spice as after getting past the creamy sauce, the inside was fairly bland, except for a light smokiness from the charcoal oven. I’m glad it was accompanied by a tart chutney and plump soy bean salad, which helped give the malai chaap some flavour. Perhaps, even something as simple as including more of the sauce for dipping would help.

Aside from the “vegetarian chicken”, we also had an actual chicken starter. The chicken seekh kebab ($18) is a sizeable portion and smelled great, but the texture took some getting used to – the consistency ground down to a paste, rather than minced. Personally, I would prefer if it contained more bite and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, more flavour.

When I picture Indian food, it’s usually something that’s packed with exotic spices. Therefore, when all the appetizers were so muted, it was a strange start to the meal. While I’m glad we branched out to try new dishes, there’s a reason why starters like samosa and chaat are popular.

Luckily, as we got to the mains, the flavour level increased … perhaps the appetizers merely were preparing the taste buds for what’s to come. The gobi aloo & peas ($16) had a strong hit of masala and heat, the roasted cauliflower adding a further smokiness to the dish. Wrapped in a thin roti this could have easily been a delicious vegetarian main.

The smoky baingan bharta ($18) was accurately named given the eggplant was grilled over charcoal adding a smoldering taste and smell. Along with onions, tomatoes, herbs, and chilies, the mixture was great for dipping bread into and could easily work as a starter. In fact, most of the bread basket ($8), for me, went towards this dish. Containing a piece of butter naan, garlic naan, laccha parantha, and tandoori roti, the bread basket was a great sampler, but the soft chewy naans stole the show.

Huge pieces of soft and tender paneer were in the saag paneer ($17)… Adrak certainly doesn’t skimp on the cheese! Along with the thick spinach base, the dish was rich and filling.

The Goan-style seafood curry ($25) incorporated interesting flavours: predominantly sweet and sour with a creaminess from the coconut milk and a light heat. Yet, it was more fish than seafood as both spoons contained flavourless white fish... where's the shrimp and scallop? It's a dish that goes well, perhaps even needs, steamed rice. On its own or even with the naan/biryani, something seemed off.

To be fair, the vegetarian biryani ($17) doesn't need any more sauce, even by itself it was moist (without relying on oil) and flavourful. With tons of vegetables (green beans, onion, tomato, and peas), in lieu of the customary chicken or lamb I normally have the rice with, it's nice to eat something lighter. 

Even on the dessert menu there were some unfamiliar choices: the dinner provided my first taste of kesar phirni ($8) a slow-cooked vermicelli pudding flavoured with saffron. While it was mushy with no distinct bits of the noodle, the cashew pieces added crunch helping to improve the texture. Once again, the raisins could be left out; Adrak should really consider calling out this ingredient on their menu as it's generally insights a love/hate relationship with people. 

Surprisingly, even with our weekend dinner the restaurant wasn’t busy – perhaps due to their hidden location. Most of the diners were large groups with 10+ people; Adrak’s long tables and open concept design is great for hosting large groups and semi-private parties. Their service was also exemplary and one of the better restaurants for accommodating dietary restrictions. In fact, it’s the closest option for a fine dining Indian restaurant I’ve visited in the city. And, if you have diners that don’t like spice, at least they can stick to the appetizers.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Richmond Hill, Canada
 Address: 15 Wertheim Court

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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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