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Malabari Food Festival at Maroli

Maroli is holding their second Malabari Food Festival at the end of November. I went to the first one and enjoyed the food since some of the dishes are closer to what I like. It's completely different from all the North Indian food you get in almost all other restaurants. Here is a link to the announcement on their website: http://www.maroli.ca/news/1/13/Malaba...

I'm hoping all the Indian food gurus on the board go and check it out as you need to try something different from what is widely available. After all, you could not be an expert on the Kama Sutra just by reading the first half of the book. :-



630 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1K7, CA

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  1. Does the 25 $ fee includes food?

    1 Reply
    1. re: garfield

      Yes I am sure it does as it did include it last year - actually even a beer was included then. Did you read the text at the link? It explains it there but maybe not clearly enough. The food is all laid out buffet style so you can go up again and try something else or more of what you liked.

    2. Thanks, have put this in my calendar.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pincus

        Here is the thread from last year, to get an idea what it was like : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575396

      2. Oh man, I am THERE! I love this place. Gotta try those bull nuts, maybe I'll finally find a preparation of them that I like.

        1. This is a good place, although I prefer the Keralan dishes at Anjappar Chettinad - having visited Kerala, I feel that Maroli sometimes cooks for a western palate. That being said, I was mad at myself for missing this event last year and will definitely be there this year.

          9 Replies
          1. re: childofthestorm

            Im going for the first time. It sounds amazing.

            1. re: domesticgodess

              It was a excellent selection of varities from Malabar during last years Food festival .
              Well it is the review of maroli on Toronto star that reminded of the food festival .

              1. re: michimo

                I hadn't seen that article as I don't read the Star but it's interesting that they also mentioned that most people are only familiar with North Indian food as I did in the initial post. That's only about 10% of all that is available and much of the other food is better, in my opinion.

            2. re: childofthestorm

              I love Anjappar too, but since I don't drive it is a wonderful luxury to have a place as good as Maroli on the subway line. I have talked others into going to Anjappar when they offered to drive :)

              630 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1K7, CA

              1. re: munchieHK

                Well Anjappar and Maroli are like
                Mexican and Greek food ,
                One is Malabari and other is Tamil - Both has their own identity .
                But could have few spices in identitical usage as they are neibouring states .
                my self being a tamil I love Karaikudi for tamil food than Anjappar .
                Hopefully we get to try lot more malabari dishes at the festival .

                1. re: michimo

                  Finally someone else who knows there is more to Indian food than Chicken Tikka and Butter Chicken. With all the diverse cuisine from India, it's too bad very little of it shows up in Toronto. I wish I could find the type of food my relatives cook, but you won't find it in any restaurant. But if it did exist, people here would say it's not authentic.

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    I just...don't,,,get Butter Chicken. I have never seen it in India. I never saw it in Indian restaurants in Hong Kong (which are some of the best in the world, as they poach all the best chefs from India). In fact, Toronto is the first place I have seen it and moreover it seems to be some kind of benchmark for people here. I have tried it 3 times and each time thought it was awful. It is the antithesis of good Indian cuisine. What Big Macs are to hamburgers, Butter Chicken is to Indian food. An over sweet, over rich, over fat, over cooked concoction designed purely to cater to the Western palate. Can we not have a new benchmark? Best Uppams, maybe?

                    1. re: munchieHK

                      Proper butter chicken is made from left over Tandoori chicken, do if you don't have any of that left you can't make butter chicken the correct way. And if they use dried up tandoori chicken in the restos, you will probably get dry butter chicken.

                      For a new benchmark, how about looking for the best East Indian style pork vindaloo, since it's supposed to be made from pork, not beef or chicken? Click here to see what it should look like: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia...
                      When no place in Toronto serves an real vindaloo, it's no wonder that hardly anyone knows what it should taste like.

                      1. re: munchieHK

                        Butter chicken is an actual Indian dish though, called Murgh Makhani, with roots in Delhi dating back to the Mughal Empire. I ate a remarkable version in Old Delhi a few years ago, mixing spicy with sweet with the smoky taste of the tandoor.

                        Of course, most butter chickens we are served here in Toronto are overly sweet and definitely geared to the Western palate, in the same way that your average Toronto pad thai is laden with ketchup.

              2. This is intriguing. I read The Star article as well and it definitely peaked my interest.

                It's true...most Indo-Pak restaurants in the GTA are northern-based, Mughali-inspired and the food is 'richer' relative to other regions of the subcontinent. More cream, clarified butter, almonds, cashews, paneers etc etc...it's thicker, richer and more 'luxurious' as it's roots are based on food the ruling Moghal Empire ate.

                I will definitely be checking out Ajnappar and Maroli at some point in time.

                I've commented in past posts about what a pitiful situation the Indo-Pak restaurant scene is here in the GTA. It's a disgrace as we are not living up to our potential.
                Somebody needs to come and raise the bar a notch or three.
                The food is nowhere near as good as it could be.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pakmode

                  In response to the OP: this is an excellent festival/buffet. We went last year -- the price included a beer, and the food was excellent. There was 16 or 17 dishes, plus pickles and chutneys and breads. Recommended.

                2. I can't make it today, but if anyone goes, can they please write a short review? I can hopefully go tomorrow for dinner.


                  8 Replies
                  1. re: igk

                    I was planning to go tonight but my wife says the food is too hot for her, and my brother in law and sister does not want to wait in line so we decided to cancel at the last minute. I'm sure it will be good and there will be dishes that you will almost never find otherwise.

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      I will indeed write a report on Sunday...

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        Well we went in the end, and I just returned home but am a bit too stuffed to write much now. It was similar to last year's event. One thing I'll mention right now, I don't think they have any heat on in there and the place is very drafty near the windows. The window is a single pane and I felt like I was in an igloo. Wear warm clothing and sit at least 10 ft from the front windows unless you like very cold rooms.

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          Thanks for the tip about the heating!!

                          1. re: foodyDudey

                            write a review soon please, please!
                            We are going as a group of 7 people on Friday (December 4)..Purposely avoided the Festival this week thinking it would be crowded and have arranged for our 'usual suspects' (the old India Trippers) to go this week....since most of them spent their time in Bombay (Mubai) and Goa not sure if anyone has experience with this 'cuisine' but we are all looking forward to going and thanks for the tip about it being a bit chilly/drafty... these 'old' people don't like being cold LOL!!
                            Am looking forward to your review and thanks....

                            1. re: pearlD

                              PearlD, you should have gone this weekend as many items will not be on the regular menu. Plus, when you order from the regular menu you are paying for each dish they serve, where at the buffet (and it's not sitting around but continuously replenished) you have at least 25 choices. We arrived at 7:45 last night, and an hour later there was no wait for seats. Id I write a review, it would be about food that won't be available when you go. I'm from Bombay and also travel to Goa when I visit so know the cuisine well. The cuisine at Malabar is not exactly the same, it's from further south but there is lots of seafood. They had a nice shrimp biryani, it was mild but tasty. I've been busy unpacking all the items we put in storage while the kitchen was being renovated so had no time to write a review. Just look at last year's review plus what I wrote about the cold room = 2009 review!


                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                I was there at 12:00 p.m when it first opened.
                                We were greeted by the lovely chef and his wife and quickly made our way to the buffet. Everything was gorgeous - everything was tasty, spicy, flavorful, crunchy and not oily. The fish, the sardines, the calamari, the rice, the desserts, the vegetables...the chef/wife came by our table atleast 4 times to ask us if we were enjoying ourselves. I did not have the mutton or the chicken pakoras but my friends did. Everyones plates was filled two times and everyones plate was empty. Plus we all agreed we would go back.
                                It was a fabulous chowhound find. When we left at 1:15 - there was a line up at the door. Too bad this festival doenst take place two or three times a year. LOL
                                ps we sat at the back, food dudey - and we werent cold.

                                1. re: domesticgodess

                                  I was also thinking they should hold the food festival a few times a year.
                                  When they asked you how you liked everything, I hope you responded correctly, see here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrmDo5... :-)

                      2. Tsk, I missed this thanks to lackluster customer service from a company I won't name. Such a shame.

                        1. I went to Maroli for the Malabari Festival tonight. It was excellent and I'll be going back. Some highlights:

                          Avial: a vegetable stew with 'drumsticks' (looks a bit like okra with the ends chopped off, but has a fibrous outer pod. You eat the seeds inside.)

                          Appam (Rice Hoppers): Crepes of fermented rice and coconut, straight off the griddle.

                          Fish Moilee: In a coconut gravy with curry leaves, which gave it a nice earthy taste.

                          Payasam: The Keralan kheer - a smooth rice pudding sweetened with jaggery.

                          There were about 4 rice dishes, 4 veg dishes, 6 meat dishes, 6 seafood dishes, an array of pickles, 3 or 4 types of bread and half a dozen desserts. Even taking just a small amount of everything, I got full trying to taste it all. Lots of the dishes weren't on their regular menu.

                          $30 per person and that included a beer.

                          630 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1K7, CA

                          1. what kind of vegetarian options do they have at the festivals, if any? would it be worth it for a vegetarian to go in the future? thanks!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: helenhelen

                              There would be a bit that a vegetarian could eat, but very little of what is offered during that festival is vegetarian. There is quite a bit of seafood available so it's much better if you are not vegetarian.

                              1. re: helenhelen

                                They had avial. It's a very good south Indian veg stew with a unique taste. They also had a dry veg curry with lots of coconut in it and a daal. But the focus really is on seafood.

                                Udupi Palace in little India has a decent south Indian veg thali with a variety if dishes, and some pretty good dosas.

                                Udupi Palace
                                1460 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4L2A3, CA