Amaya Bread Bar - small report
So I finally made it to the new Amaya Bread Bar on yonge street yesterday (3305 Yonge Street, north of lawrence, near the Pet store)
Place inside is beautiful with very clean and bright colours. background music is quiet, and the copper tumblers are beautiful.
We had the chef's tasting ($45 per), and everything was absolutely brilliant.
Started with an amuse bouche which consisted of a watermelon/ginger shooter, and onion bhajji.
Then had the chef's trio of pakora, tikki and samosa. They were served without dipping sauces, something I thought was odd at first because these items are generally deep fried and require some dip. But they were juicy and full of flavour, able to stand on their own. Any dip would have overpowered the niblets.
we had chicken in a spinach sauce, long basmati rice, a vegetable curry and lamb chops in a cherry chutney sauce.
We also had tiger prawn wrapped sole in a green curry.
All dishes represented both traditional and contemporary flawlessly. No single spice or flavour was overpowering, just a delicious treat.
The sweet lassi is the best i've had outside of Pune. The mango lassi isn't so bad either.
They have a wine selection, but nothing indian. Same with the beer. Lots of martinis thought.
would love to go back.
Thanks for the post. Can't wait to try it! Any idea if there is a vegetarian tasting menu? And how busy was it? Did you have to make a reservation?
I wonder if it's open today...
Went here last night and had an excellent experience. Two appetizers, two mains, basmati rice, naan, and a glass of beer and wine for two - came to $105 with tax and tip.
Two of us arrived around 7 without a reservation and were seated right away. The place stayed about 3/4 full all night. They offered us the tasting menu for $45 each based on our "likes, dislikes, vegetarian, allergies ect", but we declined.
The decor is quite nice and our server was well informed and provided excellent service all night. He tried to give a bit of a hard sell on the tasting menu and desert but it wasn't pushy to the point of uncomfortable or awkward.
The watermelon-ginger shooter and fried onion bhajji amuse bouche was a delicious surprise. Our first dish to arrive was the jal tarang, spicy style lobster bisque and crab somosas which were both excellent. The somosas came with two sauces on the plate, on sweet and one more spicy.
Next we had the lamb stuffed tandoori chicken with mango. I enjoy spicy food and was pleased to see that there was sufficient heat without crushing the rest of the flavours.
The appetizers arrived staggered in the middle of the table meant for sharing but our mains came at the time. Both the chicken madras and goan prawn & crab curry were delicous. As was the super long grain basmati rice and unreal buttered naan we ordered to soak up the curry.
All in all, great flavours on a strip of Yonge Street curretly lacking them. Would definately recommend trying this place. I was told their take out section opens today.
The ubiquitous tapas menu comes to upscale Indian dining, which means that you'll eat well, if somewhat sparingly (and somewhat expensively) at Bread Bar, in an attractive corner location on Yonge Street north of Lawrence Ave.
The place is an offshoot of Amaya, a lauded Indian joint on Bayview Ave. south of Eglinton, where I've never been. Bread Bar opened recently almost across the street from a friend's apartment, so we decided to give it a workout Monday night. A long, narrow room, well-spaced tables, serene atmosphere. Good service from a smart young staff supervised by someone who seemed to know what he was doing (a nice touch on Mondays, when most senior staff at many restos take off). Started with the complimentary noshies noted on previous postings on this thread. Limited but well-chosen wine list, priced standard-issue on this high-rent strip on Yonge Street. Which means outrageously. When you can't find a bottle around $30 on a list, you know you're on north Yonge Street. Beer's a better choice with Indian anyway, in my view. Rather short menu, with starters at about $9 and mains around $18, all tapas-sized. Very accomplished and sophisticated cooking. Mains of prawn and crab curry and chicken madras were winners. The only thing that rankled was the naan. It was very, very tasty, but for $3 you get a tiny crescent of the stuff, not nearly enough to keep two of us going through dinner. So you order it again, and again, and you wind up popping $9 - for bread. My non-Chowhound friends would laugh me out of the room if I told them that (as they should, so I won't tell them). It was good naan, but not that much better than that of other Indian joints I frequent, where I get twice the naan for half the price. And you need lotsa naan to sop up the wonderful sauces. Meaning that I'll sit still for tapas-sized starters and mains, but NOT tapas-sized naan, good as it may be.
It'll cost you about $125 (tax and tip included) for two starters, two mains, rice, two glasses on wine, two beers (served in chilled glasses, a nice touch), and three pathetically small servings of naan. Is it worth it? Well, you can do it about 20 per cent cheaper at Tabla, another high-end Indian spot just down Yonge Street, where I've been several times recently (as well as getting more food, if portion size is important to you). And it'll cost about $60, about half Bread Bar's price, at Indian Kitchen, a solid mid-level place up Yonge Street north of Steeles, that I also rather like. Bread Bar might be a good choice if you're feeling peckish rather than hungry (and are prepared to pay the pop), but if you're hungry and want similarly accomplished cooking, Tabla might be a better choice.Though I note, warily, that Tabla's menu has undergone some changes lately and that's often a precursor to lower prices and, sometimes, lower quality at high-style Indian restos that can't find enough customers.
I've yet to try the newly-opened Chakra, also south down Yonge Street, or Mela, on Avenue Road north of Lawrence, also new to the fancy-Indian scene in the neighborhood. So many Indian joints, so little time. If they're better than Bread Bar (or Tabla), I'd be surprised. But for sure their naans wouldn't be so teensy as Bread Bar's.
This tapas craze has to stop, at least at naan.
We very much enjoyed our meal at Bread Bar. The Beef Vindaloo Tenderloin was outstanding, as were the Butter Chicken, the naan and the apps. The bill was a little pricey indeed, but the food was inventive and delicious. The servings were ample. We had two apps, three dishes and two pieces of naan. I'll still stick with my cheaper restos for every day dining, but this was a lovely indulgence to which we'll return.
I had a pretty good meal at Bread Bar. Overall the presentation was outstanding (probably the best I've seen at an Indian place in Toronto) and the flavours were good to very good - albeit small portions (which I don't mind if the quality is there).
HOWEVER, although I liked the spicing overall I found the textures lacking. In particular the various breads were ALL soggy, and some of the food tended to that too - several vegetables were on the mushy side, rather than crisp. The exception was the beef vindaloo, which was completely reversed. The beef itself was superb, and the potatoes served with it were nicely 'al dente'. But it was the sauce that wasn't quite right. Extremely hot (not surprising in a vindaloo) but it lacked the layers of spice that I desire. This version was merely 'hot'. Certainly not in the top class - I still rank Tabla's Vindaloo as the best (by a considerable distance).
And the service was mixed. Early on, with a partially empty restaurant, it was very good. But as the place filled to overflowing, and they put people at the bar, it became very slow. Same problem at Amaya. Either this is intentional to boost high margin bar sales - or they haven't learned from the same situation at Amaya.
Overall, worth a repeat visit. This could become a good 'first date' (or second) place - certainly it has visual appeal on the plate and is fairly comfortable - a notch up from casual (but well below formal). But for the best food (so far) I still rank Tabla ahead.
But let's raise a glass to this expansion of Indian destinations in Toronto. This must surely be the most significant trend recently (although small-plate dining is still holding on).
I was there less than a month back and I agree that this place is definitely worth visiting. Their presentation is beautiful, comparable only to Vij's in Vancouver.
We ordered the tasting menu. I'm drawing a near blank on what we were served other than remembering the paprids were a bit soft. Dhal makhani was good and Tandoori salmon was okay. I don't care to eat salmon at restaurants. I also recall enjoying their desserts.
Only additional value I can add is that it's the fist time I've ever taken leftovers from a tasting menu. They served so much food that we felt compelled not to waste!