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Copper Chimney

m
ManAbout Oct 18, 2011 04:57 PM

Has anybody been there recently?

Personally, I have found their food to be a few notches below what it was at the beginning of the year.

The quality seems to have slipped quite a bit. I have been there a couple of times over the last 3 months, and both times, I have left disappointed. It's not even one particular dish, even though some some are worse than others. The last time, the Chicken Biryani was woeful, the fish just passable. The time before that their Hariyali Tikka and Lamb Saag were dismal.

Given the dearth(or near absence) of quality Indian restaurants in Toronto, I would like to continue to frequent this place. But, they are not making it easy for me.

  1. foodyDudey Jan 21, 2012 09:27 AM

    It looks like Copper Commney has finally been discovered by Joanne Kates. Only about 60 weeks too late. Now everyone will be ordering tandoori chicken and ras malai.

    5 Replies
    1. re: foodyDudey
      prima Jan 21, 2012 09:51 AM

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/f...

      I'm happy to read in the review that Jokh Rana, the chef from the now-defunct Cuisine of India, is now working at The Copper Chimney. I'm not sure if he was already working at TheCopper Chimney when I dined there in December.

      Next time I visit, I'll make a point to ask the owner if the tandoori chicken has been outselling the butter chicken since the review was published.

      -----
      The Copper Chimney
      2050 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M 4A6, CA

      1. re: prima
        foodyDudey Jan 21, 2012 10:20 AM

        Yes he was there when you ate, and he was there a year ago.

        http://jameschatto.com/tag/jokh-rana/

        1. re: foodyDudey
          prima Jan 21, 2012 10:40 AM

          Good to know. Thanks.

      2. re: foodyDudey
        iMarilyn Jan 21, 2012 10:51 AM

        Kates is on the record that she doesn't "get" Indian food.

        1. re: iMarilyn
          foodyDudey Jan 21, 2012 11:03 AM

          Where did she say that? I didn't see it in her "review".

      3. prima Dec 10, 2011 10:49 AM

        I had a good lunch with 2 friends at Copper Chimney last Saturday. The owner was very courteous.

        We ordered 2 orders of samosas, the rosemary naan, the chicken vindaloo, chicken biryani and channa masala. The biryani was pretty good for a restaurant version, but I thought it was a little light on the chicken, compared to other biryanis I've had elsewhere. My friends had chosen the chicken vindaloo and channa masala, which were both decent. I don't tend to like vindaloo (in general) that much, anyhow, so it's quite possible it was a very good vindaloo.The chicken in the vindaloo and biryani was tender. Nice, crisp pappadums to start. I really like their samosas and naan. I also tried their mango lassi, which I thought tasted better than most mango lassis I've tried.

        I'll definitely return, probably for take-out, to try some more dishes. It was a really reasonably priced lunch for the Avenue & Wilson area. I think our order came to around $57, and my friends were able to take home some leftovers.

        1. d
          DVT78 Dec 10, 2011 10:01 AM

          I decided to drop by for a quick dinner Friday night just after 6pm before we did some Christmas shopping at Yorkdale mall. This was my first time at this particular establishment, so I cannot comment on how it was before.

          I ordered the butter chicken and my friend ordered the saag lamb with naan and rice.

          The butter chicken was good, it wasn't too sweet, it was spiced correctly at least for me. The only problem was that the chicken was not as tender as I would like.

          My friend ordered the saag lamb and it was good, I have tried saag lamb at other restaurants in Toronto and it's a lot better than most. Nice flavour, texture and the lamb used was very tender and flavourful.

          The naan bread and rice were fine.

          The service was really good, we served by a young gentleman who looked under 30 for sure. He was patient explaining different dishes to us, checked up on us on a regular basis to see if we needed anything and to fill our water glasses but not to the point where he was overbearing.

          Overall, I would have to agree with a few other posters, the place doesn't blow you away but it definitely is better than most in Toronto and is very price competitive. Unfortunately when I was in the UK and NYC, I didn't get a chance to try Indian cuisine, so I can't comment on the comparison.

          1. j
            jovialetr Oct 20, 2011 09:59 PM

            Here is Amy Pataki's review of Copper Chimney from today. In light of the discussion above, I thought it would be interesting to post.

            http://www.toronto.com/article/701367...

            Personally, I have had take out from Copper Chimney once, and thought it was pretty good, but that was a while back. so disappointed to hear that some people think it has gone downhill.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jovialetr
              i
              Idas Oct 21, 2011 11:11 PM

              For the record, the Ras Malai is my FAV dessert!
              Idas

            2. m
              ManAbout Oct 20, 2011 06:46 PM

              This is the place on Avenue Road, I don't know why the reference for Copper Chimney in Ajax keeps popping up.

              One common theme that I have noticed running through some of the comments in this thread is the sentiment that "it's better than other Indian restaurants". I think that's it really. I do think the problem is that the quality of Indian restaurants in Toronto is pathetic for a city of this size and with such a large South Asian population. That's why a lot of us keep going back to Copper Chimney. Just because it's somewhat better than everything else that is out there.

              If this restaurant was in a more competitive city, like NYC for example, I doubt it would fare very well. And in London, UK it wouldn't survive a year. I do think that the restaurant has potential, but the quality of dishes has become far too uneven for my liking. Also, the service definitely needs to be improved. There has only been two of them serving the last couple of times I have been there.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ManAbout
                sgogo Oct 20, 2011 07:17 PM

                You have a point; the best Indian I've had was in a random, no-name place near Holborn in London. If that's mediocre, I can see how Copper Chimney wouldn't necessarily cut it in the big leagues. Personally, though, I'll keep going because I appreciate the product and service relative to the GTA scene.
                As an example, Lahore Tikka House on Gerrard, last time I went for takeout, was serving the entire dining room with styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery. My sister reported that she'd had the same a few months earlier. Not sure if they're still doing it, or why (I'd imagine related to their eternal renovation). I was honestly horrified, and couldn't enjoy our meal imagining the mountains of waste that must pile up every night.

                -----
                Copper Chimney
                619 Kingston Rd W, Ajax, ON L1S6L8, CA

                1. re: sgogo
                  hal2010 Oct 20, 2011 07:38 PM

                  Lahore Tikka has used styrofoam for as long as I can remember. I notice the trailers are gone and the new building is operating. Now if they could only do some chops and kebabs like Tayyabs in London, I'd be there every week.

                  London does have some good Indian restaurants but there are lots of crummy tourist traps, too, like Brick Lane. There's this ubiquitous chicken tikka masala in the UK that has no spice, lots of sugar (sometimes coconut, too) and it glows in the dark. Horrible stuff.

                  1. re: hal2010
                    p
                    pakmode Dec 10, 2011 10:51 PM

                    I know this is an older post - but try the Lamb Chops at Raby's (beside Bamiyan on Thornecliffe/Overlea). They're amazing...well marinated, cooked in the tandoor briefly and served medium when I went. They were excellent.

                2. re: ManAbout
                  Charles Yu Oct 20, 2011 07:21 PM

                  Well said ManAbout!! My sentiment exactly!!

                  When I was living in London, there must be at least half a dozen Indian Restaurants within a block of my home. Every single one, I swear, has food that was way better than Copper Chimney! So complex and multi-layered in flavour! I simply cannot understand why Indian chefs in Toronto cannot reproduce such quality and taste?? After all, both UK and Canada have to import spices from Asia?! No?!!

                  One other thing I dislike about curries here in town is that all chicken dishes uses boneless meat. Even worse is when they use boneless, mushy texture, 'white' meat! Absolutely void of chicken taste! The chicken dishes I had in the UK were all 'bone-in', using free-range where possible. So flavourful and nice chewy texture.

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    m
                    ManAbout Oct 20, 2011 08:34 PM

                    To add insult to injury, the best Indian restaurant I have eaten at in Canada was in fact recently in Montreal, a city with a much smaller South Asian population. Maybe that's why my opinion of Copper Chimney has taken a further drop.

                    You won't find this restaurant around the tourist areas, and it doesn't look much from the outside, but if you happen to visit Montreal, there is a restaurant called Maison Indian Curry House in Jean Talon. It's a small place, looks like a hole in the wall and it's always packed. When you walk into the restaurant you feel like you are walking into an Indian person's dining room.

                    It's cheap and the food is absolutely delicious. Their dishes are from the same region as Copper Chimney, and they blow it out of the water. If you are looking for authentic Indian food in Toronto, go to Montreal.

                3. sgogo Oct 20, 2011 02:43 PM

                  Similar to the poster above, I've eaten here about once a month since the spring. I haven't noticed a significant drop in quality, rather we've been satisfied each time overall. Maybe one or two dishes aren't totally to our liking, but I'm not going to write it off.
                  I'm not a fan of their pakoras, but the onion bhaji are terrific. The butter chicken is always good, not too sweet like in other places. The lamb roganjosh wasn't amazing, but the other lamb dish (with safron and cashews?) is worthwhile. Most everything else we've had has been good, I'd say a notch higher than anywhere on Gerrard. Pretty large portions, though, for two people we can't really try more than two dishes.They always remember us, we've had great service there.
                  The only odd thing is that sometimes it's PACKED completely, and other times it's dead.

                  1. f
                    FrenchSoda Oct 20, 2011 12:11 PM

                    I called the other night for take-out after reading positive reviews here and the gentleman on the other end of the phone actually hung up on me. Busy night, I guess, it sounded pretty mad in the background but I was shocked.

                    From the various reviews here, I'm not sure whether it's worth another try, though good Indian in an easily driveable distance would be great.

                    1. b
                      BlueGoo Oct 20, 2011 10:36 AM

                      I haven't eaten in a while (location is not terribly convenient) but it's a fav of ours for takeout. The portions are generous and well-spiced - I haven't tasted a decline in quality since opening. The naan are absolutely delish... always impeccable. The owners/servers are welcoming and friendly.

                      We hope they stay around for a long, long time.

                      1. d
                        dubchild Oct 19, 2011 08:26 PM

                        I'm assuming we are all talking about the Copper Chimney in Toronto and not Ajax. We went once a while back when there was a lot of buzz around the place. The pakoras were dense, heavy and greasy, the curries were good, maybe a notch above the usual Indian restaurant. It was awhile back, but this was my vague impression I kept of this place. For us, it is inconvenient to get to and there was nothing about the food that made me feel I should go out of my way to go there. Maybe if I lived in the area, I would try to figure out the stronger dishes on the menu. But I never understood the hype, it didn't feel like it was way above the competition.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dubchild
                          j
                          juno Oct 20, 2011 05:51 AM

                          No resto bats .1000, I suppose, so I guess I've been lucky in almost all of my visits to Copper Chimney - an average of about once a month since it opened just a short drive from my humble hovel. I've had overwhelmingly good food and service as I work my way through the menu. Even the one or two times it seemed off, it was still quite respectable. It's certainly somewhat better - in my view - than another nearby, highly-regarded Indian joint, Amaya's Bread Bar, on Yonge St. halfway between Lawrence Ave. and York Mills Rd. Though Bread Bar has its stylish appeal, it seems to have recently narrowed its menu - and many of its main dishes taste pretty much the same to my palate. (Perhaps its the dreaded "mother sauce" that Indian food buff/chowhound estufarian complains about at many Indian restos). Like dubchild, I don't think I'd shlep across the city to get to Copper Chimney, but I'm glad it's in my backyard. It's at least a cut or two above most other Indian spots I've tried in Toronto. And modestly priced, too.

                        2. g
                          greenduck Oct 19, 2011 07:57 PM

                          They did a large catering order for me about a month ago and they were excellent. Portions were way too big though.

                          Haven't been at the restaurant to eat in awhile.

                          1. elvisahmed Oct 19, 2011 07:40 PM

                            Yeah I kinda agree with you though I can't comment on the quality before as this was my first visit. I had the lamb shank and my friend had the chicken vindaloo. Both were very average though the place was packed on a weekday.

                            1. estufarian Oct 19, 2011 07:41 AM

                              I made a similar comment on the main Copper Chimney thread a few months back - and people disagreed. So I went back last week and it was as good as any visit I've had since it opened.
                              Best in Toronto (for me).
                              I was there midweek and emphasized that the food seemed to be milder on my prior visit. No problem this rime though. However, your dishes aren't my favourites anyway.

                              Had Pakoras (just OK), Onion Bhaji (V good), Baigan Patiala (good), Butter Chicken (I refuse to comment on butter chicken anywhere - my friends ordered this),Lamb Roganjosh (excellent), Lamb Saag (just OK), Beef Vindaloo (excellent) and assorted breads/rice.

                              -----
                              Copper Chimney
                              619 Kingston Rd W, Ajax, ON L1S6L8, CA

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: estufarian
                                hal2010 Oct 19, 2011 12:04 PM

                                So how was the butter chicken?

                                1. re: hal2010
                                  estufarian Oct 19, 2011 01:52 PM

                                  I didn't try it. I don't eat tomato.

                                2. re: estufarian
                                  foodyDudey Oct 20, 2011 02:35 AM

                                  When I made similar comments on that thread early in the year, nobody agreed and I got attacked, We also had terrible service. I'd say they've had their 15 minutes of fame.

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