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May 2, 2009 07:01 PM

Indian food, Unusual and delicious

Masala Art at 1040 Yonge Street, Toronto, is a cozy quiet room seating about thirty. Comfortable chairs, attentive service. Limited but sufficient wine list, about eight each of white and red.

The food is remarkable in its variety and sublety. Four of us had dinner there tonight: Apricot paneer tikka (tandoori grilled cheese cubes stuffed with apricot); "Tandoori twins" (portobello mushroom and cauliflower chunks in a cardomon-yogurt sauce); Atta murg ( chicken pieces, wrapped in a cabbage leaf which is covered in a dough shell, the chicken moist, tender and flavoured with two different sauces ); Lamb korma, Shrimp masala; Baingan patiala (pieces , not a mush, of eggplant in a rich sweet-and-sour sauce); roti; saffron rice;and kulfi. And a bottle of a yummy Ontario gewurztraminer

The prices are reasonable, and IMHO the food is vastly superior to the much-hyped Amaya. This was our first meal at Masala Art. It will be our first call for Indian food.

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  1. Very nice review. It sounds very good. Can you provide a benchmark of cost for two with and with the wine? One person's "reasonable" is another's "great value" and another's "do this on special occasions only".

    1. If anyone else is curious, here's a link to their website:
      Sounds great!

      1. This was my review - posted in February (and edited to remove non-relevant stuff to this thread):

        First, the tables - they're so small that the dishes ordered take up all the space. In order to eat I had to perch my eating plate on the corner of the table and eat sideways. Why can't these places learn to use smaller plates - or have larger tables?
        Not that the food was worth it either. Another set of generic sauces. Also the spicing was so mild that it approached bland. Maybe I prefer 'hotter' than many people do - but nobody even inquired as to spicing - the mildest vindaloo I've ever had and totally lacking in any acid (tamarind) components.. And they only had 2 of the 4 beers on the menu.
        The Bhajii was almost passable - certainly non-greasy, but the ratio of 'breading/batter' to ingredient was too high giving a very dry mouth feel.
        The only thing I enjoyed was the portobello mushroom (part of Tandoori twins) - which I'd happily eat again - a great dish; except it comes as a duo with abysmal cauliflower, which was overcooked to almost mushiness.
        The breads were tasteless - I'm guessing nobody added salt. I skipped dessert.
        And it's not cheap - if you're paying full price (other people had a 50% off coupon).

        7 Replies
        1. re: estufarian

          I find way, way too often that the cauliflower is mushy. And when it's not mushy, there are maybe 3 or 4 pieces of it. If anyone can find a GOOD aloo gobi I'd love to hear it!

          1. re: Ediblethoughts

            I really enjoy the aloo gobi at Banjara

            1. re: Ender

              Just looked it up and found a Toronto Life article that says the "Spinach fry, a house specialty, is a lightly cooked departure from the usual saag"---which sounds very interesting to me since I'm not a fan of the green glop. Have you tried the spinach dish by any chance? (As an aside, I'd never heard of this place before but it's going down on my list!)

              1. re: Ediblethoughts

                I usually order the saag paneer 'cause I'm addicted to it. But I haven't had a dish at Banjara that wasn't delicious.

            2. re: Ediblethoughts

              I second the aloo gobi at Banjara. I had it last night (again) and can assure you I have never had mushy cauliflower there. Plus, they're very open to spice specifications (even salt specifications for salt lassis).
              For what it's worth...

              1. re: pouletsecret

                I'm going to try this place out this weekend. Can't wait!

                1. re: Ediblethoughts

                  So we tried out Banjara and really enjoyed it! All of the food was very tasty and the portion sizes (with the exception of the aloo gobi which was OK in size but not enough cauliflower compared to potato) were very impressive too. The spinach fry and mushroom (3 kinds of shrooms) and salmon tandoori were all very good. I also like that they asked for the spice level on all of the dishes we ordered. (In the end, I wouldn't say any of the dishes--even the one we ordered to be very hot--was very hot but still, I think the very hot was comparatively hotter than the others; just need to say "very VERY hot" next time.)

                  (I had posted a question awhile back on what Indian places did veg dishes well with the veg not overly oily and the still tasting fresh and not gloppy or rubbery----and this restaurant was a great find for that post!) We'll definitely be going back.

          2. Masala Art is now defunct.