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Aug 28, 2007 11:38 AM

Biryani House?

I am wondering if anyone knows if the Biryani House - located at Yonge and Wellesley - is still open? I heard a rumour that they were shutting or had shut - earlier this year - in the spring I think? But someone has recently told me that they went past and it appeared to be open.

I would love to know!

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  1. If open, must be under new management, as a friend of the chef's (Debu Saha) told me recently that he is travelling overseas looking for new opportunities. Incidentally, Debu apparently collaborated in developing Bisket a Basket's new range of chutneys, available at the St Lawrence market.

    1. I passed it last week, and the tables by the window were full.

      1. Apparently the one at Roy square / Yonge & Bloor (original one) is closing later this year due to condo development and will likely not re-open. IMO this location is much better value than the other (certainly cheaper and much more consistant, however lacking the ambience of the 'white tablecloth' establishment at Yonge and Welles)

        2 Replies
        1. re: DDD

          Latest news: My husband and I just went to Biryani House (Roy Square loc) this past saturday night for dinner. We asked whether they were closing down at the end of the year. They said that Yes, they were closing along with the rest of the place, and that Yes, they will reopen but are still on the lookout for a new location.

          When I heard this, I was so relieved, bc eventhough I've never tried theWellesley location, the Roy Square location is our fave Indian food spot! The guy knows us (even though I dont know his name), and the food is super! My husband is allergic to almost anything and is also quite picky, but he loves their butter chicken. My sister and I also love their Sag Ghost (beef) or Sag Lamb, the Mushroom Curry is tasty ...and one should try the Pakoras at least once. Ooh, and the Mango Lassi too!

          Wherever Biryani House reopens, I hope it is somewhere nearby ...but even if it's not I know we will still find a way to get there.

          1. re: joyofdinner

            I asked the chef at the Biryani House Roy's Square about a move out of the present location and he indicated they were moving to a location nearby on Yonge St.

        2. I think it's re-opened with the same name, new owners. There is also now a buffet at lunch again - something they'd stopped serving long ago.

          13 Replies
          1. re: mainja

            Not exactly the same name, but close enough to confuse you.

            The original restaurant "Biryani House".
            The current Roy Square one "The Biryani House".
            The current Wellesley one "A1 Biryani House".

            1. re: Teep

              Thanks for the clarification... what's the verdict on the A1 Biryani House on Wellesley?

              1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                I work close I have visited the A1 biryani house on a few occasions. the most recent being yesterday. I had the worst experience yet.

                Indian food is great, and it tends to have more oil than most other foods, but this place just soaks everything in oil. Even the pappadums were dripping in oil after I picked them off the buffet. I pointed it out to co-workers, gf, and the staff the last few times...wondering why it was literally dripping with oil.
                The pakoras are good, but once again, too much oil.
                the Goat curry is mostly fat and bones. When other establishments offer boneless goat, this disappoints me. the beef is about the only thing that is outstanding at the buffet. Next is the channa and then the chickpeas with cheese.

                The gulabjamun is old and the canned stuff that you can buy on gerard street even tastes better. The rice pudding looked like it had been sitting over night. The raita is good, the sauces are good but these are obviously straight out of a bottle.

                A sprite costs $2.75 and the quantity is that of half a can. After about 5 visits in the last 2 months, I will not be going back anymore...

                1. re: Suresh

                  Thanks for the warning! I may be working in that area soon - can you tell me what you've found that's good around there for lunch?

                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    Sure thing.
                    I've been to nearly every restaurant in the yonge/bloor-wellesley-carlton area, and usualyl with groups of 4 or more and multiple times, so our experiences are pretty thorough. I'll try to break it down by ethnicity.

                    Korean Bibimq (near wellesley), aka "white korean" because the store owner is a white guy who married a korean woman....the food is simple, pretty good, but stay away from the kalbi beef ribs as they tend to be so sweet that they give you a stomach ache.

                    Korean bbq - yonge/bloor
                    best korean bbq among the choices. The meats are fresh, but only the first serving appears to be well marinated. If you continue to ask for beef, expect it ot be thin and blander in taste.

                    the other korean bbq near carlton ( i forget the name)
                    cheaper, but the meats are not as tasty.

                    Sunrise - near alexander. Good goat roti, good chicken roti, pretty consistent every time.

                    For thai food, you have some great choices, let's start with the basic..
                    Friendly thai near Isabella. This place offers basic thai food as well as some other pub fare. The food is okay, not really great Thai but cheap. You can get good lunches for under $10, service is kinda slow and it's highly inconsistent in terms of taste/amount.

                    Pi-tom. Easily the best thai place on Yonge. I've been going to pitom for years, and I have to say, that they offer the tastiest thai food at very affordable prices. They're located at Alexander. Try;
                    Duck curry - fantastic
                    cashew mango - great
                    crab fried rice is a real treat
                    pumpkin soup - nice!!
                    Safe to say that I've tried the entire menu here, all great items. BUT, the service tends to be very very slow sometimes (understaffed?). So keep that in mind if you are strict for time.

                    Green Mango (near charles)
                    Great duck salad, good atmosphere, large services, most of the food is pretty genric "white" thai.

                    Just Thai
                    Church, just south of Wellesley. It's more fusion thai than pitom but the food is phenomenal. The thai chicken wings are juicy and meaty....pineapple curry, wow...thai basil beef wow....
                    Calamari is great, the mango salads are great, and the ginger beef curry is my favourite choice there. Lunches are usualyl empty, service is hit or miss (there are 2 individuals that rotate there. One is great, one is not)
                    I have to say that this place is one of the few places where I actually enjoy the Pad Thai. Brings back memories of childhood in Thailand

                    Tokyo Sushi House - St joseph street.
                    Possibly the cleanest (in terms of taste) and best sushi in an affordalbe restaurant in downtown toronto.
                    Try the maguro, the toro, the spicy tuna, the hamachi, dragon roll, sake roll, on and on. Seating is extremely limited, the staff are super friendly.

                    In terms of conveyor belt sushi, this place is good. they have a wide variety of cosmopolitan sushi rolls and sashimi. The toro is really good, the maguro is not. Been there maybe a dozen times easily, and would highly recommend the spicy tuna (from the menu, not the belt) and any of the tempura rolls from the belt.

                    3rd grade when compared to any of the other sushi places on yonge.

                    Biryani house near bloor, not the one on wellesley

                    Arrabiatta near isabella serves some good pizza and pasta. The service is quick and friendly.

                    Ginger - near charles
                    good phoa
                    good noodles, good beef dishes. Pretty dry (authentic) meats and dishes. Fast service, tends to be extremely busy due to cheap price

                    let's do lunch.

                    1. re: Suresh

                      What do "white Thai" and "white Korean" mean?

                      1. re: badbhoy

                        At places where the dishes that have very little authentic taste since they are catered to Canadian palates. my friends and co-workers refer to them as such.

              2. re: mainja

                Does anyone know exactly where the NEW Biryani House is???

                I haven't been back in the area since November, and I was told they were closing in january...

                Please Please Please, any info would be helpful! I do not want to have to resort to go to the wellesley location.

                1. re: joyofdinner

                  The new Biryani House is on Hayden, next door to Focaccia. Tiny space, with about the same number of seats as the original. Curries still excellent.

                  1. re: estragon

                    Thank you so much! Now I've got somewhere to go for dinner on "Family Day"! LOL
                    I'm pretty sure it'll be good like you say, but i'll post and update you guys.

                  2. re: joyofdinner

                    For anyone who's missing Debu Saha and his work at Biryani House on Wellesley ... this just arrived in my email.


                    Debu's New Location

                    For fans of nouvelle Indian cuisine, your wait is over.

                    Debu Saha has a new restaurant and a new location at 552 Mount Pleasant Road (just north of Belsize Drive). The restaurant will be called Debu's. For directions, see Google Maps.

                    The restaurant is now open for takeout and delivery while renovations are being completed. Expect an announcement soon regarding the official opening.

                    Restaurant hours are:
                    Sunday - Thursday - 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
                    Friday - Saturday - 5:30 PM - 10:30 PM

                    Closed Monday.

                    Telephone 416-926-9340 for more information.


                    I know we'll be heading up there for takeout. I hope the resto will be open soon. Biryani House had the best tamarind cocktails.

                    1. re: LadyPB

                      Great news!!!
                      Debu is back and has opened a new restaurant named Debu's at 552 Mount Pleasant. We read on his blog that it was open for take out and couldn't resist getting a Debu food fix, got out of the car to find Debu standing outside taking the air from of a fully open and fully licensed beautifully decorated place.

                      His menu is much more creative than at Biryani House - and yes the prices have gone up - however, so has the standard of his food!

                      Debu came out several times to chat with us during the meal and told us his menu would be changing regularly, this was his second menu since he opened about 2 weeks earlier. He is planning to change the menu again in September - tempting us back with the promise of Foie Gras 3 ways!!!!

                      Tonight, after a selection of complimentary amuse gueule arrived at the table we ordered the following -

                      *Samosas - prepared 3 ways all with different fillings and accompanying sauces.
                      *Paneer - prepared 3 ways, again all different, each with a complimenting sauce.
                      *Perhaps THE best Lentil soup we've ever had, flavored with citrus leaf (Lemon) with dumplings.
                      * Duo of sorbet arrived (Complimetary) Mango and lemon/pineapple
                      *Confit of Duck with Lentil Pumpkin puree, Basmati & Candy Cane Beets
                      *Rack of Lamb Vindaloo (cooked rare) with Basmati, Asparagus, Tomato stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese
                      * Caribou (ahg, can't remember the sauce) with Potato Ring (and more)
                      All main courses are plated with a traditional style copper pot of sauce on the side - served by the waiters and left for you to add as much or little as you like.
                      We declined dessert - too full - but Debu being Debu, and us, I guess being old regular customers gushing over the complexity of flavors were sent a desserts plate of -

                      *Sweet Samosa stuffed with some kind of crushed nut and spices. (I would guess at pistachio?)
                      *Thimble of Spiced Rice Pudding on Mango Coulis with Pomegranate (we think) topping.
                      *Almond Paté (best way to describe it)

                      Service was exemplary. Being from a hospitality background I always appreciate little things such as a fresh napkins if one gets dropped on the floor, fresh cutlery for each course and my main thing no clearing of plates before everyone is finished. I'm happy to say all of these happened tonight.

                      I'm counting the hours until we can get back for more.

                      For those who don't want to eat in, check out his take out and delivery Menu. Lots of old favorites to choose from and very reasonably priced.

                      Come on Folks let keep Debu in Toronto and in business for years to come!

                      Phone number for his new place is 416-926-9340

                2. Went to the Biryani House on Hayden after reading some positive reviews here. I haven't tried a lot of Biryani in my time, but it was probably the worst I ever had. I used to work in Markham and would always get it from place up there (I think we called it Kirachi but that wasn't the actual name) and that actually had more flavour to it. The rice was kinda mushy here and it really lacked a lot of spice. I asked for it to be spicy and I don't even think I'd classify that as mild. It tasted like a toned down version of Biryani made for the white people in the area (I am white too, but I would rather eat something how its meant to be). Quite disappointing as if it was good I surely would have become a repeat customer as I just started working in the area.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gastrojunkie

                    That's too bad you didn't enjoy the food. I used to work in the area and go at least once a week. Always got vegetable thali and loved it.