Biryani House Wellesley - Nothing great to say about this place
Starting with the positives: friendly server.
Now on to the negatives: upon entering, the bathrooms were right there and all you could smell was, well, bathroom smells! Not a great first impression! And those 'after dinner mouth refreshing things were sitting right there too! Gross!!
Up the stairs and it was 100 degrees.. we asked the girl that seated us to please turn the heat down. The place is very dark, too dark if you ask me, such that you can't even see the food you are eating. We had samosa's to start, but could not see them for they were drowning in 'stuff'.. grapes, tomoatoes, and white sauce with green things in it.. perhaps green onions? perhaps parsley flakes? Either way, it was not what we were expecting and quite frankly, they ruined the samosa's which hiding underneath, may have been quite good??!!. Next, on to the mains - butter chicken which we were assured was white meat, but instead, out came med sized chicken breast with a big
bone sticking out of it. How were three people supposed to share this? The sauce was full of sugar and hardly any of it - disappointment number two. Back to positives for a minute - the perrier was lime flavored and arrived ice cold. Ok, on to the next dish, lamb biryani - my friends ate this as they like lamb. Again, a good sized lamb leg arrives in a bowl covered with rice. How to share you ask? Well, carve it off the bone.. it fell off, and they said it was 'ok'. They didn't rave. They didn't rant. It was 'ok'. The rice that was with it was tasteless and they did not seem to be impressed with the byryani. I might add that my two friends are both from India. We ordered something that was like chana masala (sp) .. it was the tiniest little portion of chick peas in sauce.. child size portion and undercooked chick peas with no flavor in the supposed sauce.. they were dry, and 'hard' to the bite.. we left most of the little chana dish after each trying a spoon full. The gobi dish we ordered was by far the most tasty of the dishes we chose. So much so, that we were still hungry and ordered a second one. It too was very good, but not great. We have all had better gobi before. Again, child size portion. The bread ordered was a type of naan.. not sure what kind, but that too disappointed. It was very buttery in scent, but too thick to enjoy. We all prefer thin naan. And since there was no sauce on anything to enjoy the naan with, (well, we could have kept the white sauce that was smothered on the samosas!) we ate it plain instead. Out the door we went away disappointed that we did not choose better. Oh well, chalk it up to yet another bad place to dine in Toronto and add it to our ever growing list.
As an aside, I never did understand the idea of Indian food as a fine-dining experience. I guess growing up on that type of food makes you crave the comfortable and simple elements of the cooking.
My wife and I were also underwhelmed when we went there, and don't really understand why it garners the raves that it does. BTW, she's Indian but open to the whole "fusion" concpt - we just found it poorly executed, and with terrible service.
Our choice for nouveau/fusion style Indian in Toronto is Dhaba on King. We actually had our post-wedding brunch there, and her relatives were all very happy with the food.
What a terrible pity! Debu Saha's Biryani House had been a favourite of mine for about three years. So much so that I never entertained the idea of going anywhere else for Indian. The food was flavourful, inventive, and playfully executed.
As I posted last month, I was extremely disappointed in a special chef's tasting menu that was offered during the celebration of Diwali. I was hoping that this was a one-time foul-up on the part of the kitchen. Judging by these new postings, however, it looks like another previously fabulous restaurant in this city has fallen prey to whatever it is that turns once-greats into has-beens.
I was very disappointed a few years ago, when the Biryani house (original one at Roy Square) was closed only to reopen on Wellesley as a more expensive but less tasty version. I tried it two or three times as I was quite impressed with the cooking at the original, but was routinely underwhelmed at Wellesley. Thankfully, the Roy Square/Yonge and Bloor location opened a short time later and we have never been back to the Wellesley location. My only complaint is that the now manager/owner of the Roy Square establishment (I believe he may have been an employee beforehand), now always seems miserable and is usually quite unfriendly...food's still worth it though!
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