Roti Cuisine of India
Ghandi gets a lot of love on this board for their rotis, but I was introduced to another contender last week. A friend raved about the mixed vegetable korma roti that her friend had picked up for takeout and wanted to try them again.
Warm spicy smells are the first thing that hits when you enter the small, sparsely decorated room (think Chinatown basics). There were a few tables that were filled but clearly takeout was the lion share of their business, as a steady stream of people picked up their styrofoam packages.
Rotis are their main thing with a few rice dishes thrown in the mix. We opted to share two rotis, one vegetarian and one protein-based. These are truly larger than your head type rotis, plump with fillings encased in thin, chewy skins. I like the fact they asked if we wanted it spicy and then cautioned us that they mean what they say.
We had the Baingan Bhurtha Roti (medium hot) and Chicken Vindaloo Roti (spicy, on top of an already spicy dish but I am a chili head). It turned out to be too spicy for my friend who ordered a raita to cool it down - this was the one disappointment as it was too thin and not very tangy. I liked that the roti was spicy but not so much that I couldn't taste anything else. I think you could ask to ratchet it up further if you like.
The eggplant was mashed and mixed with potato and peas, while the other roti had chunks of white chicken breast in a vindaloo sauce and the ubiquitous potato. Maybe because I was starving but they were very flavourful and quite tasty.
An east Indian family beside us said they come there quite often and had tried most of the menu - the father recommended the Shahi shrimp roti, cooked with coconut milk and ground cashew nut.
I think further investigation is required to determine if this is really on par with Ghandi, but I'm happy to return to do so.
308 Dupont - Dupont and Spadina, next to the Shoppers. Open every day.
Thanks again for the tip on this place. I did take out of a bunch of different rotis to try last night with a few friends. We got:
- baingan bhurtha
- malai kofta
- chicken curry
- lamb madras
- lamb saag
- shahi shrimp
- chilly [sic] gobi
- chicken biryani
My favourite rotis were the malai kofta and the lamb saag. The fillings were quite tasty. The other rotis were good, though nothing stood out for me as something I'd need to rush back for. I do prefer the chicken curry at Gandhi over the one here, though it was still fine here. The shahi shrimp was interesting -- a bit sweet from the cashew sauce -- but not to my personal taste. The baingan bhurtha was one of the ones I was most looking forward to, as I love eggplant, but I couldn't taste the eggplant at all. The dominant flavour was from the peas, which was a bit strange.
The roti wraps were thin, but seemed to be missing a bit of chew, but that may have been because they were in their takeout containers for quite some time before we opened them. The "medium" spice level was very nice -- a good burn that still allowed the other flavours to come through.
However, the star of the show for me was the "chilly gobi" appetizer. This turned out to be cauliflower that was battered, deep fried and tossed in a spicy sweet sauce. They were very addictive, even after steaming in their carry out containers. These make me want to go back and eat in the restaurant just so I can try this dish hot out of the kitchen.
The chicken biryani was also tasty, though it seemed more like an Indian fried rice, than the nuanced, layered rice dish that I associate with biryani. But I'm not even close to being an expert on biryani, so maybe it's a regional variant.
All in all, it was a tasty dinner that I enjoyed. I don't think it's going to replace Gandhi as my East Indian roti destination, but it's a good alternative for the weekends, when Gandhi is closed. And like I said, I do want to go back to try some of the dishes fresh out of the kitchen.
Oh, and on a side note -- we tried a few different wines with our take out dinner. The big winner was a moscato d'asti. A sweet, sparkling Italian wine with Indian food -- yum.
Gandhi tends to be inconsistent with their spicing and more than once I've received a meltdown of a meal after asking for my heat to be medium. Roti Cuisine of India is far less contemptuous with spices and they'll tell you if something is at a heat level that might ruin your meal.
RCoI also gets points for being open on weekends and evenings. From what I recall, Gandhi is open during the week only.