I didn’t learn to love Indian food until I discovered my first AYCE Indian buffet. But it turns out there’s a few funky Indian joints all over this city–we’ve even got an Indian food festival in the summertime, at Nathan Phillips Square. And now, just a Bollywood shimmy away at the Atrium on Bay, they’ve got some real-deal Indian street food…inside a food court!? This is Chaska Express:
This funky little food stall definitely stands out next to Subway and Feta & Olives (which may or may not still be 10% off). And they’ve got all the meats–chicken tikka, lamb tikka, fish tikka, mint chicken and lamb kebabs. You can get ’em in a roll, with a rice or salad bowl, or even put three on a grill platter. (And FWIW, they’ve got veggie stuff, too.) Now I wouldn’t normally choose just one meat when I could have three, but this is body by lamb, bro, so I’m gonna go with a medium lamb tikka curry in a rice bowl:
Now, first of all, when you order something “medium” at a food-court, you expect it to be white-people spicy, but this definitely had a decent kick. They give you about 7-8 chunks of meat, mixed with curry sauce, basmati rice, and a side cucumber/tomato salad that cools things down a bit. And for $12.99, this is not a small bowl, either! But you know I still had some room for samosa sliders, son!!!
Now, I dunno whose idea it was to put a samosa between two buns, but give that man a Nobel Peace Prize in Flavourtown! These hot ‘n crunchy flavour pockets, stuffed with peas and potatoes, are totally slammable in this hand-held format. They’re two for $8.99–or you could get 20 for 90 bucks, in case you had to feed an entire cricket team, or something…
Now, it probably goes without saying that everything tastes better with cheese–that’s like the first rule of Flavourtown, bro! So, when I find out there’s this funky Indian joint on Yonge St, and they’ve got this cheesy take on tandoori chicken, you KNOW I’m all over that like Donkey Kong…if Donkey Kong ate chicken. This is Khau Gully‘s Nazakaat-E-Murg, heading straight down my piehole:
OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got a nice, tender chicken breast, marinated in tandoori spices, cooked in a clay pot oven and swimming in a sea of cheese. And then when you cut it open, there’s even more cheese inside:
Dude, I didn’t even know that cheese-stuffed chicken could be considered Indian food, but lemme tell ya, I sooo wanna go to whatever part of India this dish is from, son!!!
Dude, you KNOW how much I love lamb, bro! Whether it’s lamb chops, lamb ribs, lamb shank or a Lamb, Sea and Air Burger, it’s all heading straight down my piehole. Now, I’ve had Greek lamb, Persian lamb and BBQ lamb before, but Indian lamb? That’s all new to me!
So we’re hanging out at Aanch Modernistic Indian Cuisine, this funky little joint just a lamb stampede away from the Rogers Centre on Wellington St W. This place is serving up all kinds of Indian classics–butter chicken, tandoori chicken, chicken vindaloo…but why eat chicken when you can have the Crowne Lamb?
Dude, this Aussie lamb shoulder is marinated overnight in Indian spices–you know the spice is right, Bob!–and served with a vindaloo curry mustard and a coriander mint sauce. The lamb is fall-apart tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, with a nice little kick from the raw purple fun-ions, and a sad shaved-carrot and lettuce salad. But who cares about salad, right????
Of course, even after slaying all those lamb chops, I’ve still got room for dessert. And here we’re definitely kicking it up a notch outta bounds with this Indian after-dinner delicacy: Kesar Elaichi Rasmalai. These sweet little milk dumplings are served cold, swimming in cream, and garnished with pistachios, bro! It’s like Cottage Cheese Gone Wild in Flavourtown!!!!
Now, I don’t know about you, but my favourite Indian food is the all-you-can-eat buffet. There’s this little place on Yonge St, right next to the Zanzibar, which is too legit to quit, son! So when I heard they were having this funky Indian food fest yesterday in Nathan Phillips Square, with a whole lotta dishes for some low, low prices, I was all over that like yellow on basmati, bro!!!
So, the first place we hit up had this super-sweet special of two tandoori chicken legs on a whole pile of rice for just five bucks. The chicken was cooked perfectly, not too dry and nicely seasoned, with just a bit of heat. After polishing off a couple of these, I almost didn’t need to eat anything else…but one does not simply go to a food festival and spend just five bucks, Fro-Bro Baggins!!!!
No, it’s pretty much guaranteed that anything you put in a taco is gonna be tasty–unless we’re talking deep-fried seitan with daiyo cheese or something. But this butter chicken taco was definitely no exception. Pretty sure I couldda slammed 3-4 of these, but then I wouldn’t have room for samosas, son!
Dude, this Indian trio of deep-fried dough is like a Bollywood blockbuster in Flavourtown! Even without meat, stuffed with peas and potatoes, they’re still pretty taste-tastic. And I don’t even know what that green sauce is, but it’s magically delicious, mighty mighty brosephs!!!
Now, I don’t often eat Indian food…unless it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet. But I heard that Banjara was the real-deal, shut-the-back-door, too-legit-to-quit, so you know I had to check it out! Some people say they’ve got the best butter chicken in Toronto, but I had to do the chicken vindaloo, cuz my main man Joey Ramone said so, bro!
This is like a flavour explosion in a bowl, bro! The chicken is cooked perfectly, melt-in-your-mouth tender. You’ve got a nice kick from the tamarind, a rich ‘n creamy sauce, and just a couple potatoes, which I’m pretty sure count as a vegetable. Now, I ordered mine mild, but it still had a pretty decent kick. Good thing I had some Indian cheesy bread to balance it out:
This cheese naan came straight outta tandoori, and had a nice balance between crispy, chewy and cheesy. It did a pretty decent job of soaking up the sauce, too, which added a little extra richness. I dunno if I’d pay $4.50 for bread again, though…unless it was baked with bacon, bro!