Showing posts with label lunch special. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lunch special. Show all posts

Jatujak Thai Cuisine (Toronto)


Jatujak Thai Cuisine is quickly becoming a chain of restaurants serving cheap-and-cheerful Thai food in the Toronto suburbs. After seeing so many of their dishes on Instagram and finding positive Google/Yelp reviews to back up the pretty pics, I decided to head north to their outpost located on Steeles a stone’s throw from Scarborough. From the outside, the storefront looks like any other plaza establishment, but once you enter, the dining room is surprisingly spacious and modern.  

Order a lunch special and they’ll arrive in no time – sometimes a worrying sign of premade food that just sits around and is assembled to order. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with the pad Thai ($8.95). The heap of brown noodles studded with chicken, onions, and bean sprouts didn’t look like much, but once I had a forkful the seemingly too-wet noodles was the perfect consistency and the sweet flavours nicely balanced by the sour and savoury elements. While I couldn’t smell much wok hay when the dish was presented, the pad Thai did have a mellow smoky element that briefly peaks out while being consumed.

I’d skip the chicken green curry ($8.95), it’s run-of-the-mill and a tad sweet for my taste for something that has two chilies listed beside it on the menu. Truth be told, I was probably still a little salty from hearing that the steamed fish curry wasn’t available, something I really had my heart set on.

Jatujak’s beef khao soi ($15.95) could also use a kick of heat to really push the bowl to the next level. Still, it was a tasty dish with the creamy curry broth incorporating a hint of citrus. The combination of silky egg noodles with crispy ones were also on-point with equal amounts of both textures. There were also tons of brisket in the bowl, so this is a great choice for those who really want their protein.

Until my work-from-home schedule ends, and I re-join the downtown rat race, I’m glad to have found Jatujak who will satisfy my Thai cravings until I can taste Chef Nuit’s creations again. I guess their affordable price points, large portions, and ease of getting a table also doesn’t hurt either. If only they had the steamed fish curry – one day, you will get into my belly.


Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 5651 Steeles Ave East


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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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Goa Indian Farm Kitchen (Toronto)


My first job was at Bayview Village at the Bakery Garden Café (now turned into Tabule). Once a fairly homogenous mall with eateries serving mostly sandwiches, pizza, and burgers; the strip of restaurants by the O&B entrance has gotten a diversity makeover. A new addition to the fold is Goa Indian Farm Kitchen, the more upscale and polished restaurant by Hemant Bhagwani (also known for Amaya and Indian Street Food).

Lunch is a great time to gather a group for a visit: their lunch combination ($23.95) offers a choice of appetizer and main. Just be mindful of their advice - our waiter noted the starters are not shareable and are made for one person. In reality, the appetizer sizes are substantial and even the short rib samosa arrives as large as a baseball cut into two. So, listen to your gut and get a bunch of appetizers to share.

For us, we made the mistake of taking the waiter’s advice and ordering two portions of the saffron eggplant. Sure, they’re tasty, like shoestring fries made from eggplant, but since the vegetable soaks up oil, they start to feel heavy after half a dozen. I would have much rather alternated between the eggplant and the rawa pakoras as well.


The sriracha chilli cauliflower is exactly as it sounds: bit sized florets deep fried and tossed in a spicy sweet sauce. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the dish, it’s also not terribly exciting and lacks any Indian flavours.


Luckily, I got my fill of exotic spices from the Goan seafood curry main (additional $4.98), a combination of jumbo prawns, scallop, tiliapia, and mussel cooked to perfection. For those who prefer milder curries, this sauce is ideal with the coconut base enhanced by just a tiny bit of chili, adding flavour without massive amounts of heat. In fact, the sweet onion, tomato, and coconut milk tastes are what really comes through. Unlike their appetizers, the main dish portions are better suited for one person.


Combos arrive with basmati rice dressed up with onion frizzles, chick peas, and a bit of wild rice for colour and texture. While this was more than enough food – we had leftovers – we had to add butter naan ($4), a hot airy soft bread glistening with butter. Too bad we had to remind them about it after we were already halfway through our meals.


While you could enjoy lunch with cocktails and wine, it was the vegan mango lassi ($7) that filled in as a drink and dessert. It’s as thick as it gets, but absolutely delicious made with a coconut and soy milk base and tons of mango throughout. Sweetened with maple syrup and dusted with cardamom powder and pistachios it’s a small but tasty glass.



Even during the weekend it wasn’t overly busy at Goa Indian Farm Kitchen, which allowed us to stay longer and catch up. Of course, being situated in a mall, we could also run errands around the meal. For me, just being in Bayview Village brought back a sense of nostalgia, it was the place where I earned my first dollar.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2901 Bayview Avenue (in Bayview Village)

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:


Goa Indian Farm Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kub Khao Thai Eatery for lunch (Toronto)


It’s surprising how many people know about Kub Khao Thai Eatery in spite of its location hidden behind a gas station. It’s the original place, in Scarborough, to get authentic Thai food.

Their quick lunch specials, served from 11am to 4pm (including weekends), offers great value with six mains accompanied with crispy wontons and a choice of tom yum soup or mango salad. The crispy wontons are filled with a pork and arrives with a sweet chili sauce. Little two bite nuggets that are great for tiding you over until the mains arrive.


The tom yum is fairly large and in the traditional spicy and sour broth are tons of fresh Shanghai bok choy and napa cabbage so you’re eating a full serving of vegetables right at the start. Kub Khao certainly doesn’t skimp on fresh produce – their mango salad has the customary julienned bell pepper and red onion, but is further enhanced with crunchy carrots and refreshing mint and coriander.

A popular order is their pad Thai chicken ($9.95), the rice noodles getting plenty of wok hay and tossed with bean sprouts, tofu, scrambled egg, and chives in a tamarind sauce that has a nicely balanced sourness. I love the finely ground peanuts, which melds into the noodles rather than being large pieces you need to chew through.


The pad karee shrimp ($11.95) is fiery red. Dig to the bottom of the bowl and you’ll get the little pieces of chili to match – thankfully, the coconut milk calms down the heat. While there aren’t tons of shrimp, there is plenty of flavourful curry to spoon over steamed rice. I just wished there were more vegetables in the dish.  


Four “street lunch” options aren’t accompanied by the wonton and starters but is a full-sized main. The chicken noodle curry’s ($11.95) broth was a khao soi and green curry love child. The bowl arrives brimming with ingredients including bell peppers, bean sprouts, eggplant, green beans, bamboo shoot, and onion, a refreshing bite against the rich spicy soup. A bit of pickled cabbage adds an unexpected tanginess and along with all the protein (chicken and a hard-boiled egg) makes a filling lunch.


If there was a best service station restaurant award, in my books, Kub Khao is the winner.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3561 Sheppard Avenue East
 Website: http://kubkhao.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!


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Paradise Fine Chinese Cuisine 世外桃園 (Toronto)

If waiting to score a table for dim sum is something you detest, Paradise Fine Dining has you covered. Hidden off of a quiet street behind a bustling plaza, the parking lot was busier than the actual restaurant. Since they offer a special prices before 11am, we thought we should arrive before 10am to avoid a lengthy wait. What a pleasant surprise to find the dining room only half full – you could likely arrive for 10:30 and still meet that special ordering timeline.

Particularly for larger tables, the early bird deal of $3.10 for small, medium or large dishes can save you a fair amount given they’re normally S for $3.10, M for $4.50 and L for $5.50. Paradise’s tea charge is higher than most at $1.60 per person, but it’s a small premium for not having to wait. Moreover, they’re friendly, accommodating to families, and the dishes are presented in a well-timed succession so you don’t feel rushed.

Overall, their dim sum are respectable versions of the dish, but unfortunately nothing stands out. Everything is just a touch under seasoned, so I found we relied heavily on the condiments to add flavour.

At least the two most popular dishes are done well: there’s plenty of shrimp within the har gow (L) and the wrapper thin and not overly sticky. If it were steamed just a tad less, the dumpling would be better as the shrimp was starting to reach the point of getting hard. Meanwhile, the sui mai or mince pork and shrimp dumpling (M) were much better – juicy and flavourful comparably.


Despite sounding enticing, the steamed kabocha squash and scallop dumplings (L) were tasteless since both ingredients aren’t pronounced. Moreover, the earthiness of the squash doesn’t pair well with the seafood, giving the scallop a mineral-like fish taste.


The steamed shredded chicken and baby bok choy dumplings (L) doesn’t resemble the description at all. Instead, it’s more adequately described as ground chicken dumplings topped with corn. Overall, the dumpling is on the right path, with a bit more salt and another texture incorporated into the filling (crunchy celery or the earthy black mushroom) these would have been delicious.


Meanwhile, the chicken was actually shredded in the spring rolls with taro (M); they were hot and crispy, but could use more chicken.


If only the grilled dumpling with pork (L) were cooked longer so a crust could develop, these would have been some of the better ones I’ve had at dim sum. Each dumpling held a fair amount of pork and the wrappers were thin and light.


For something similar, I’d opt for the grilled shrimp patties with chive (L) instead. Sometimes these are referred to as "hockey pucks" at other restaurants and Paradise makes really tasty ones. Of all the dishes we sampled at brunch, this was my favourite.


The BBQ pork used in their steamed buns (M) and steamed rice crepe (L) had a nice balance of sweetness without becoming syrupy. Indeed, the chung fun or steamed rice crepe had the customary silky thinness you’d want with the dish, but the filling needed something else (perhaps finely chopped parsley) for interest.


Despite feeling like you’ve eaten tons at dim sum, heed my advice and make sure you order a heavier rice dish … otherwise, you’ll be hungry in a couple of hours. Paradise’s sticky rice with chicken and conpoy wrapped in lotus leaf (M) was a meagre serving with only two small pieces in an order. I could look past the small quantity if they also weren’t so plain - the ground chicken really didn’t have much else added.

The second starch we tried wasn’t any better. Admittedly, the deep fried glutinous rice with assorted meat (L) was not what I expected. Typically, these jongs are found wrapped in lotus leaf and boiled or steamed; having it battered and deep fried was an interesting twist. The crispy texture mixed with the soft sticky rice was a tasty combination, but the pork with bland yellow beans were rather flavourless so really all you taste is the soy sauce.


Paradise’s flakey baked egg tarts (M) were predominantly pastry and even then it wasn’t made very well as the tart shells had a powdery finish.


If only I knew the "soft custard centre" in the golden fried sesame balls (L) was actually salty egg yolk based, an ingredient that really needs to be called out as many either love or hate it (in my case hate for desserts), I wouldn’t have ordered the dish. Nonetheless, if you enjoy sweet and salty combinations these would be worth a try.


There are a couple of dishes priced too expensively: the steamed rice noodles with shrimp (generally L at other restaurants is XL ($6.50)) and the deep fried octopus (typically XL was considered XXL ($8.50)). Overall, Paradise has an extensive selection of dim sum with options not generally found elsewhere. Not all are great, as we found out with the kaboucha and scallop dumplings, but at least larger tables can’t complain about not having choices.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 5505 Leslie 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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Paradise Fine Chinese Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato