There has been a lot of hype about this new restaurant on 17th Avenue. I’ve not been keen to try it because they don’t take reservations… this is one of my biggest pet peeves of any restaurant! So, three of us decided to go here on a very cold, snowy, winter evening. We showed up before 5:30 and easily got in, but by the time we left the restaurant was almost full.
We were seated quickly and the host brought us water to start. She gave us menus, told us who our server would be, and then we waited. And waited. I wasn’t impressed. When the server finally came we gave her our drink and appetizer order at the same time for fear she wouldn’t come back soon to take the food order.
It was Happy Hour until 6:00 so the appetizers (AKA bar snacks) were half price, one of the cocktails and the house wines were on sale for $8, and draft beer was $5. For a happy hour I didn’t think the selection of drinks on sale was very good at all… in my mind more than one cocktail should be on sale, or what’s the point?
I ordered the Gogo cocktail to start for $12 (it was really quite nice), L1 ordered a beer and L2 ordered the house red wine. I moved to a glass of the house red after my cocktail, since the cocktail I chose was not on sale for happy hour. I’m sorry, but although many cocktails are uber delicious, I just can’t justify spending $12-14 on them very often.
We ordered three bar snacks to share – taking advantage of them being half price!
We thought the eggplant pakoras (reg. $10) would be super tasty since we all love mixed vegetable pakoras. Nope. They were greasy and not that flavourful. Kind of mushy too – I mean, really, I guess I should have expected that for deep-fried eggplant… but when L2 squished out the grease from her pakora I knew I didn’t need a second one.
The paneer (reg. $8) was seasoned & seared with Bengali garam & kashmiri chilli and was topped with honey & pistachios. It looked good and sounded good, but it wasn’t very flavourful. If you like a very subtle flavour, this is a good dish to try. It wasn’t sweet enough or salty enough to do anything for me. Good in concept, but rather bland.
The chilli chicken (reg. $13) was the best dish of the whole evening. It was sweet and spicy and crunchy and it had a wicked kick of heat. The portion size was great – probably the best bang for the buck of the whole evening (especially during happy hour). I would recommend this dish and would get it again if I went back.
For the mains we shared 4 dishes:
The charred broccolini ($12) was really good. It was charred nicely, cooked perfectly, and with a sprinkling of red chilis and a secret spice (which he did tell us but I failed to write down or remember)…. it had a unique flavour but wasn’t too crazy.
The pork butter masala ($16) reminded me of Moroccan food (although I don’t think I’ve every formally had Moroccan food)… it was all together a different kind of flavour from the rest of the dishes. The mini potatoes were nicely cooked and overall it was an interesting dish. I quite liked the crunch of the almonds against the very tender pork.
The house dal ($11) was just okay. The lentils were cooked well – not too crispy and not too mushy. But again, the flavours didn’t really pop. I could do without the lentil dish moving forward.
The chicken rezala ($16) was tasty, and would be my third favourite dish after the chilli chicken and the broccolini, but again, it wasn’t the best Indian dish I’ve ever had. I think there were just 6 pieces of chicken in the dish. The flavours were quite nice, but it could have used more of a spicy kick and may be overpriced for the amount of chicken in it.
The rice and naan were pretty standard – I can’t really comment. But at $2.50 per person for rice, that was an expensive bowl of rice.
Overall, I think the restaurant has been over-hyped. The decor is neat but the food was just OK, especially for the price. I’d say the best time to go is during happy hour – fill up on appetizers! Will I go back? Sure, but I won’t choose it myself. And, I certainly wouldn’t stand in line to get in if there were no tables available when I got there.