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

CLOSED: The Kolkata Club (Mississauga)

Picture courtesy of Parv
Hement Bhagwani, the restauranteur who created the Amaya chain and Indian Street Food, recently opened a place that’s very different from his last two ventures: The Kolkata Club, a restaurant that’s influenced by the social clubs established during the British Raj period in India. Most clubs were exclusively for British officers and their families; while they would hire Indian citizens to work at the clubs, the workers weren’t allowed to eat in the dining room.
Then in 1907 the Calcutta Club opened, the first social club whose membership policy didn’t restrict based on race. Hence, when Hement started the Mississauga restaurant, he chose to pay homage to the more lenient Calcutta Club. When the British left India, the 'clubs' remained and was returned to the people, despite there still being an element of exclusivity. Today, the affluent are favoured. Luckily, dining at The Kolkata Club, in Mississauga, doesn’t require years on a wait list, a vast family fortune, or an impressive surname.


Kolkata’s menu is inspired by the choices found in India, often reinterpreted for the British palette, with their own twist. It also includes Asian options gleamed from India’s neighbours such as momos, dumplings popular in Tibet cuisine, filled with vegetables ($11.50) or chicken ($13.50). With the chicken ones sold out by 7:45pm, we stuck with the vegetable version. I was worried they’d be bland against the thick chewy dough, but the garlic vegetable medley was flavourful enough and works as a lighter starter. Served with gravy and chili sauce on a sizzling plate, generally found at chop suey restaurants, the momos developed a crispy crust and stayed hot.


Catering to British taste buds does mean dishes don’t incorporate a lot of spice. While my friend warned the Bengali chingri prawns ($18.50) would likely be spicy, the use of green chilis was subdued with the main flavours being the curry and a hit of something tangy. Personally, I would have liked this to be spicier - if only I stopped the waiter from taking away the chili sauce accompanying the momos, it’d be perfect! Yet, if curries could be refreshing, this dish fits the bill.


Luckily, we had an order of pulao ($15.95) and plain naan ($3.25) to soak up every drop of the sauce from the murg methid Dhabe wala ($15.50), which was aromatic, flavourful, and rich without being heavy. The menu describes the dish as being ‘country’ chicken, likely due to it incorporating large pieces of bone-in dark meat. In my books, this is the best cut for braised chicken – the bone adds flavour and keeps the meat moist – and I’ve always been partial to dark meat instead of white.  Needless to say, we finished this dish with gusto.

Picture courtesy of Parv
The chicken curry went well with the forest mushroom, truffle, and morel pulao ($15.95). While I couldn’t taste any truffle or morel, there was plenty of white mushrooms incorporated into the rice and when the bits of fried onion seeped into curry, they added another depth to the sauce.

Picture courtesy of Parv
While dining at The Kolkata Club during their first month operating, the kitchen was dealing with growing pains. Aside from the lack of chicken momos, the British Raj influenced steak roast was also unavailable. Nonetheless, both dishes require prepping ahead of time, hence stock outs are somewhat understandable. However, when the kitchen was too busy to make chai, an after-dinner drink that’s synonymous with Indian cuisine, it was a bit odd. Surely, even if the tea had to be steeped ahead of time and reheated later, it’s better than not serving it at all.
A hot aromatic drink would have gone well with the saffron mango cheesecake ($8.50), a contrast against the cool light dessert with a pronounced tropical mango taste. I did enjoy the generous sprinkling of saffron over top, its umami essence adding an interesting element to the cake.


These surprising twists are even evident in their cocktails. The aam panna mojito ($12.50) is described as the tangiest cocktail on the list. While still sweet, the drink is refreshing from the aam panna (or green mango drink) and well muddled mint. A hit of chaat masala gives the cocktail an almost savoury finish.

The Kolkata Club feels different compared to traditional Indian restaurants. Like the pictured social clubs along the restaurant walls, customers tend to come in larger groups and many dressed to impress. Dinner was a well-paced leisurely affair, lasting well over two hours for the three-course event. In the days where reservations come with two-hour seating limits, this laissez-faire attitude is a welcomed reminder of the good old days.  
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: Mississauga, Canada
 Address: 488 Eglinton 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:




TYC by Sanjeev Kapoor (Toronto)

TYC by Sanjeev Kapoor

TYC or The Yellow Chilli is the sole Canadian outpost of a chain that amalgamates a variety of Indian dishes from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s journey across India. In reviewing the restaurant’s website, it publicizes their aim to serve food in a hygienic atmosphere. I don’t know what to think of this… shouldn’t this be the minimal standard of any establishment? I’d hope all restaurants want to be hygienic and it’s not something exemplary to highlight like a mission statement. Yet, while waiting for my friends to arrive, I noticed the neighbouring table’s banquette was marked with muddy shoeprints and within minutes a waitress arrives apologizing (despite it not being my table) and cleans off the offending marks.  


With my love for samosas, I had to try the starter and TYC has three to choose from: vegetarian, chicken, or mutton. The aloo makai samosa ($6) was filled with potato and corn (according to the menu). In reality, I couldn’t decipher the corn amongst the mashed potato filling, which lacked texture and interest. Moreover, it wasn’t even accompanied by sauces, despite not being overly flavourful. Luckily, we stopped the waitress from taking away the tamarind and creamy dill sauce served with the complimentary crispy papadum to use with the appetizer. I’d rather have the vegetable samosas from Samosa King any day.


One of their best sellers is the lalla mussa dal ($13), a dish of black lentils slow cooked over 36 hours to get to that melting consistency. Interestingly, their website also boasts about their use of state-of-the-art equipment – I guess they haven’t started using the Insta-pot yet. Nonetheless, the dish is very hearty and with the long cooking period, the pulse turns into a silky creamy concoction that was delicious by itself or sandwiched in naan.


Butter chicken ($17) has never been a dish I’m overly fond of and TYC reminds me why: the tomato sauce is way too sweet, the chunks of chicken not overly tender, and the “butter” sauce heavy but not in a heavenly way. After a spoonful, I stuck to the fish tikka masala ($23) where the tomato sauce has a nice tangy kick and the tandoor cooked fish left flaky and tender.


Just stay away from the butter chicken, if you want butter have their butter naan ($3.95; two pieces pictured) instead. The bread is hot, soft and chewy, and glistens with the ingredient.


The spiciest dish of the evening was the murgh noormahal biryani ($15) – thankfully, they brought out raita to accompany the rice, I certainly had my fair share of the cooling yoghurt. The biryani was peppered with spices where the heat slowly builds and permeates the taste buds to a delicious finish. I’d just leave out the fried onions – presumably crispy if eaten right away but over time becomes chewy and hard against the moist grains of rice.


So why a yellow chilli? The menu’s cover letter from Sanjeev explains this, “Years ago, on the streets of Meerut, my mother’s hometown, I bumped into a yellow chilli … with one bite … an idea was born. My restaurant, The Yellow Chilli, came into being.” Since then, the chain has grown to about 100 outlets and its foray into Canada. I had high expectations: while some dishes were good, none were outstanding and hardly the delicious journey I’d expect for an Indian chain.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 55 Eglinton Avenue 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:


TYC - by Sanjeev Kapoor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ancila's Indian Cuisine (Mississauga)


Dining at Ancila’s Indian Cuisine is sort of cryptic, so you'll just have to roll with it. Starting with the reservations: the restaurant accepts them, but I’m told to make sure to cancel, if necessary, as they won't take another reservation for that time. This led me to believe that the dining room is tiny, when in reality it’s a fair-sized establishment. Upon entering, I see one large table is occupied being served by a waiter; not in a rush I wait patiently and it wasn’t until a women (presumably Ancila) leaves the kitchen that I’m addressed and instructed to sit wherever I like.

She returns to the kitchen and as I’m sitting there – without water, cutlery, or even a menu – I begin to wonder what’s going on. Finally, when my friend arrives, Ancila comes back to the table and things get clarified. We’re advised there are no printed menus; instead, she'll ask questions to come up with an order: On a scale from one to ten, what is your spice tolerance level? Are you vegetarian? Of the proteins are there any you particularly enjoy? Do you have any dietary restrictions?

With that we decided on a creamy medium spicy vegetarian dish and a spicier tomato based meat offering along with rice and naan. Ancila then went back to the kitchen to prepare everything and didn’t return until later to check on our experience.  

There was plenty of paneer in the tikka masala ($11); soft and fresh, it’s contrasted by a slight crunch from the bell peppers and onion. Being a thicker sauce, this went well sandwiched in between the warm toasted naan.


The mutton in the karahi ($12) was cooked well; stewed until tender with the collagen around the bone starting to break down. Cooked to a level-7 spiciness, the tomato, ginger and coriander sauce was hot enough to cause the tongue to sting and bring heat to your face. When too much sauce was spooned onto the rice ($3), a forkful of cooling raita ($2.50) helped calm it back down.


A downfall from not having a menu is not realizing all the options available. For example, for the sides, aside from rice we also ordered butter ($1.50) and garlic ($2.50) naan (any difference between the two is slight). However, after finding their menu online, I realize they also serve flakey paratha and flavourful briyani, I wish we had those instead.

It’s a quaint restaurant and with their no-menu system feels like you’re dining in Ancila’s home. “Let me make you a bit of food, what would you like?” it sort of feels like. The dishes take a while to prepare but what comes out is piping hot and made-to-order. Just be mindful about adding items too late in the meal, depending on the time, they may not be able to make dishes as even the samosa dough is made fresh. 

Like dining in a home, it’s a calm unhurried experience – there for a later dinner, Ancilia assured us to take our time and chat more, despite the restaurant being closed. What started off a little puzzling ended up being a good experience.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Mississauga, Canada
 Address: 6905 Millcreek Drive

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:

Ancila's Indian Cusine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bindia Indian Bistro (Toronto)

Bindia aims to serve Indian food within an airy brightly lit bistro. Their dining room doesn’t have an ounce of red or gold, instead there are calming blues and warm wood tones. The well ventilated restaurant means you can even go out afterwards without being perfumed with the aromatic aromas.

The vegetable pakora ($9) was a rocky start. The plump chickpea flour fritters arrived a lovely golden brown with plenty of crispy edges, but should be smaller as the inside was mushy and mealy, instead of the airy puff you’re expecting.

Luckily, the heaping lamb biryani ($19) redeemed the restaurant, incorporating flavourful spiced basmati rice where even the medium spice level already had me reaching for the raita (a thin cucumber yoghurt that really helps sooths the tongue). Tucking into the mound you’ll find chunks of tender lamb, not nearly as flavourful as the rice, but helps the mild lamb taste remain and distinguish itself from beef.


If a powerful lamb dish is what you’re craving, their vindaloo ($19) is also extremely tender despite containing even large pieces of meat and sits in plenty of their house-made sauce. The dish is great for slathering onto an order of basmati rice ($5) or tucked into a piece of warm crispy naan ($3).


Bindia’s paneer is the softest I’ve ever experienced, definitely closer to a cheese consistency than a firm tofu. Within the paneer tikka masala ($16) were large cubes of Indian cheese, stewed with onions and green peppers in a lovely masala cream sauce. Despite not having an ounce of meat, the dish is a rich and hearty.



With a big dining room, Bindia can accommodate large groups – certainly, during our holiday visit seems to be hosting many corporate lunches. Their dishes are great for sharing, so pass them along and break naan with your colleagues.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 16 Market 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:



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


Naan and Kabob (Toronto)


In Toronto, we’re blessed to be able to eat cuisines from so many cultures. Up until recently, I’ve never experienced Afghan dishes: the spiced meats, herbed yoghurt or fruit studded rice. The tastes are familiar – Persian, Indian, and Middle Eastern – but it’s still unique and the spices balanced and not quite as overwhelming for a virgin palette.

You have to try the mantu (5 for $6.99 or 10 for $10.99), they’re fantastic. Square shaped dumplings filled with sautéed onions and ground beef pinched into an ultra-thin wrapper. Generally, I find dumplings need to be piping hot to be at their peak, however, mantus are topped with a light garlicky yoghurt, stewed split peas and mint making it equally delicious cold.

For a heavier appetizer, the bolanee’s ($6.99) potato filling wrapped in a thin pan fried naan will satisfy. The mixture is studded with green onions and herbs, but there’s also a hit of heat that sneaks up on you. Since they don’t use a lot of fats at Naan and Kabob, the bolanee is rather dry; a dip into yogurt or the “magic sauce” really helps.


You can’t visit the restaurant without trying their namesake kabobs. Each is served with salad and fresh naan (more like a thick dry crusty flatbread than the flakey soft Indian counterparts). It’s worth paying the extra $1.50 to add rice, the long grains are perfect for mixing with pieces of meat and the accompanying sauces. For another $1.50 the rice can be topped with qabli, a mixture of re-hydrated raisins and slivered carrots, which keeps the rice moist and adds sweetness.


Having tried two pieces of the classic chicken breast kabob ($9.49) throughout the evening, it was a hit or miss. The first piece was the typical dry unappealing chicken – the output of something skinless and boneless. Meanwhile, a later piece was juicy and tender. 


If you’d rather stick with chicken (lamb is a more popular Afghan protein), I’d go with the tandoori breast kabob ($9.99) instead, which was succulent every time having been marinated and cooked at a higher temperature. Moreover, the tandoori spices adds flavour so you don’t need to rely on the hot or magic sauce for taste.


Their shish kabob ($8.40) takes ground beef and a house blend of Afghani herbs and spices then forms it onto skewers before grilling. It’s a tasty combination of seasoning and the sprinkling of lentils (?) put into the meat helps to seal in juices.


You can tell the kids that the chaplee ($9.49) are burgers with the naan substituting for the bun. The ground beef patties are more flavourful than the North American version, but also leaner and thoroughly cooked through.


Naan and Kabob only has one dessert, a firni ($2.49), but it’s a delicious one. After a heavier meal of rice and meat, it’s nice to end with a lightly sweetened rosewater milk dessert, its texture a cross between pudding and mousse, oh so silky.


There’s also a mango smoothie ($3.49) available, it’s a thinner consistency that makes it more like juice. For something really different try the doogh ($2.29), a water and yoghurt drink topped with dried mint. It takes some getting used to as the drink is salty, so works better when you’re eating the kabobs.


A portion of Naan and Kabob’s proceeds is given to Covenant House. But, they don’t stop at just donating money; the restaurant also provides youth job opportunities so they can get culinary training and develop their skills. A commendable endeavor the four-restaurant chain has implemented to give back to their GTA community. 

Overall mark - 7.5 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: 1780 Markham Road
 Website: http://nandk.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:


Naan and Kabob Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato