A trip to Little India

During University I developed a taste for Indian food and ever since moving to Toronto I’ve been in searching for a really good place to get my fix.  Most times I find myself at an all-you-can-eat Indian buffets.  Some have been delicious while others…not so much.  It wasn’t until almost a year after living in Toronto that someone told me about an area of town called Little India.  At first I thought they were talking about the Indian restaurant on Queen (which is also really good) but it turns out when you head east on Gerrard, over the Don Valley, past sketchy east China town and a little further east, you’ll find Little India.  A few friends of ours had been telling us about a place there that is supposed to have really good food but an unusual dining setting.  Apparently the main restaurant has been under renovations for some time so for the time being everyone eats outside at picnic tables.  Sounds like my kind of place!  A few weeks ago we made out way over and I was stunned when I laid eyes on the place, Lahore Tikka House.

IMAG0088Under the rainbow color tent were a number of picnic tables and the dining area which was lit up by hundreds of little lights.  It felt magical.  We decided to order a bunch of dishes and share between the group of us.  To start, they gave us small veggie salad (enough for one person.  I think this was to clear the palate).  We ordered a meat samosa each.  The bundle of meat and spices was delightful.  The outer layer was nice and crisp.  Thinking back, I don’t think I have ever had a bad samosa so take this for what it’s worth.  The butter chicken came out next.

IMAG0089There were HUGE chunks of tender chicken mixed in the delicious sauce.  A friend of mine once told me he judged Indian buffets by the color of the butter chicken.  Orange = bad.  Red = good.  After mixing this around a reddish paste formed with the spices visible (and whoa, there were a lot of spices, not hot spices but delicious spices).  We also ordered a piece of naan bread each (which was also pretty big) to soak up all the extra sauce.

IMAG0090The chicken tikka masala came out next.  It looked very similar to the butter chicken but was darker and had more kick to it.  Like the dish before it, it was rich in flavor due to hefty array of spices. The chicken was also tender.  The sauces in these two dishes were so good I found myself spooning the left over sauce out by the end of the meal.  The oil and spices can’t be good for my blood pressure but it is tough to resist.

IMAG0091In an attempt to balance out all the meat we decided to order the “combo sizzler” vegetable dish.  The dish was a combination of Tarka Dal (lentils), Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potato), Chana Masala (chick peas) and Palak (Spinach).  There were also peppers on the dish.  The vegetables were a little oily but they were delicious.  In all honesty, it was a nice break from the richness of the other dishes.  The veggies were not overly spiced, maintaining the flavor of the vegetable, but still having a hint of the middle-eastern flavor that I’ve come to love.

We also ordered the chicken briyani.  The plate of rice came out with big chunks of chicken still on the bone. The portions for this dish were very generous and between the five of us, had a bit of a struggle finishing all of it (along with everything else).  This is one of the best Indian meals I have had in Toronto and for the price (about $10 per person), I thought it was a good find.  I admit, I’ll be a little sad when they get rid of the giant rainbow tent with the Christmas lights, the paper plates (oh yeah, we were eating off paper plates and using plastic utensils) and the picnic tables but even when the restaurant renovations are complete, I’m sure I’ll find myself back here to get my middle-eastern fix.


~ by jlowjlow on September 18, 2009.

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