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Feb 1, 2007 11:04 AM

Indian Rice Factory/Winterlicious - Underwhelmed!

A friend that I trust used to tell me how great a spot this was. I'd never tried it myself, so I thought I'd take advantage of Winterlicious to give it a try. My impressions:

Pakoras: Were alright. A little bland perhaps. The dipping sauce tasted a little VH, if you catch my drift.

Naan: Pretty good. I liked the parsley infused into the batter.

Pilau: You know you're in trouble when the rice is the highlight of the meal. A great Pilau, fragrant and full of fresh vegetables and spices. Love the raisins.

Raita: Run of the mill. I could make it just as well myself.

Butter Chicken: This is where the meal hung in the balance. The cynosure, if you will... the linchpin. You'd expect a sauce so rich and yummy that you'd get down on your knees and lap it off the floor. Did they run out of gee? This was so tomatoey I forgave myself for thinking I was in the arcades of Padova rather than the stalls of Kalkotta. Furthermore, three measly cubes of chicken? I know it's Winterlicious but a man needs to eat.

Dessert: Don't recall the name. Sort of an Indian cheesecake of sorts. With a few thawed berries thrown on top. Nothing to write home about.

Wine: Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the wine. It was from India, a Shiraz 2005 I believe. It was quite nice. Better than most Canadian wines I've tried. Who knew?

All in all, if it wasn't for the exceptional company, I would be upset. The service was decent but rather uninspired. Indian is not something I go out for all that much but next time I do, I will definitely try another place. Hopefully they can clean up their act a bit as it's a really nice space. Interested to hear from others.

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  1. I've only been to Indian Rice Factory once, and was so underwhelmed I won't be returning.

    2 Replies
    1. re: xtal

      I haven't been there in years, and was never terribly impressed the few times I've gone there. I've always found it overpriced, with abrupt, almost rude, service.

      1. re: xtal

        I'll go further. The food was mediocre, the portions timy, the cost exhorbitant and the service rude. It's a really bad place.

      2. I've heard that the food there is below average now. I haven't been there for over 20 years myself.

        When I was in India a year ago, I bought many Indian wines to see what they were like, some were quite good.

        1. I was there about 8 years ago, before I tried really good Indian food at other places. It was overpriced and not overwhelmingly good. I've had much better since.

          1. From what I understand, when Mrs. Patel opened Indian Rice Factory it was one of the first, if not the first, Indian restaurants in the city. One must give her credit for introducing this amazing cuisine to Torontonians. Likely, the food was better when she was in the kitchen, and before her children took over.

            Does anyone know if she's still living? I would always see her sitting at a back table in the restaurant each time I was there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FlavoursGal

              I saw her on Christine Cushing a couple years ago. Not sure if she's still living, but she seemed pretty vibrant. Hopefully for her she retreated somewhere to relax. I agree that she should be given credit for introducing the cuisine to Torontonians. I just haven't heard anybody rave about the restaurant in recent memory.

            2. I went for Winterlicious last night. A friend had already booked us in before I read this thread.

              We were informed that they would NOT be serving pakoras last night. Huh? Only two appetizer options and you can't even deliver the interesting one? Boo.

              Instead, we were given the option of lentil soup or salad to start. I really don't like lentil soup so I chose the salad. What I got was a handful of bagged mixed greens (probably from Loblaws up the street) with about half a teaspoon of dressing. The 'lentil soup' I turned down ended up being vegetable soup (nary a lentil to be found) and my companions said it was very tasty. So, I lost out there.

              We waited ages for our mains. A couple that was seated a full half hour after us were served their dishes first. How long does it take to serve bowls of butter chicken or veggie curry, both of which would have been made ahead of time? By the way, the person who ordered butter chicken was presented with just two tiny morsels of meat.

              Between the three of us, we were given two pieces of cold, leathery naan.

              I quite liked the ros malai cheesecake dessert, but we didn't even get the thawed-out berries GetInMyBelly mentioned.

              Blah. Very dismal. Wish I had just gone back to Olivia's at 53 for a second dinner instead.