Curryish Tavern on [Queen West,Toronto]

Has anyone tried Curryish Tavern? https://curryishtavern.ca/

Not yet, but hoping to go in late November…

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Indian food with modern twist. Enjoyable.

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We gave it a try after a friend’s recommendation.

Started with Pani Puri (pretty good) and followed up with

BBQ Octopus (middle-of-road – have had more enjoyable octopus recently)

Ghee Confit Duck Leg + Foie Gras Curry

Lamb + Pineapple Upside-Down Biryani

“Montreal Style Bagel”Paratha

And an order of hot sauce (extra $3.50)

Overall, reminded us of Vij in Vancouver – sort of a mixed compliment as I’ve never found Vij to be “Indian” – rather it’s a ‘European’ meal using Indian spices.

Service was ‘mixed’ – after an initial attempt to hustle cocktails we were ignored until the ‘regular waiter’ arrived to discuss the food. We ordered wine – seemed like this was a strange thing to do, as the server knew nothing about the winelist – and indeed the wine didn’t arrive until after the food started appearing.

However, eventually everything settled down and the food was mostly enjoyable (although my tolerance for heat exceeded the chef’s choice of spicing). But the supplementary hot sauce improved most dishes. Most successful dish for me was the Lamb biryani (once I added hot sauce). The sweetness from the pineapple lifted the dish.

Least successful was the Duck leg and foie Gras Curry – a bit oily and the foie gras curry seemed to dumb down the separate ingredients.

But I really enjoyed the Montreal Style Paratha (a Paratha topped with ‘bagel spices’ (we actually have a jar of these at home and enjoy them).

We haven’t rushed back – the meal (including wine) ended up over $300 (for two) – a bit high compared to other places we like. However, we would return (?eventually) – just not in our top priority category.

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We were in the neighbourhood to buy some tea and noticed this restaurant. Perhaps things have changed since Estufarian’s visit because Vij is terrible compared to Curryish. Curryish’s interpretation of Indian dishes not only makes surprising sense, but maintains the essence of the original dishes with a slight slant towards more familiar western ingredients. Every dish was not only tasty but had a small surprising twist.

Picked grapes to contrast with the duck confit and foie curry? Just makes sense (think achaar).

Upside down pineapple cake… umm… biryani? Again, quite clever as it uses the traditional dum method for individual portions.

Montreal bagel spice on the paratha? Another great match with the curries.

Don’t come here if you’re expecting traditional Indian dishes. But if you’re familiar with the cuisine already and would like to see how you can far you can push it, it’s a good meal that could make you smile. If I had to try to pick a downside, it was the spicing was mild-medium… which probably suits the neighbourhood. Still very enjoyable nevertheless.

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I haven’t made the trip back (yet) but have been trying several other places. My overall favourite is still Pukka - plus they have an outstanding wine list (important for me, but not necessarily everyone).
My spicing tolerance also seems much greater than yours (I prefer medium-hot to mild-medium). Accordingly I enjoyed the ‘pineapple biryani’ a lot AFTER I added the hot sauce (although I didn’t appreciate the additional charge - a small point but many places automatically provide chiles as a condiment).
The paratha was fantastic - the standout dish.
I found the duck/foie curry a mess - the only dish I wouldn’t try again. But at $300 I’m crossing a price threshold to return. I want ‘great’ food at that price.

Incidentally, the other places I’ve tried (mostly for specific dishes - particularly Vindaloos and/or Onion Bhajia (which Pukka doesn’t currently offer, but other places do), have not turned up anything outstanding, although some OK versions).

And I was being kind to Vij! It’s many years since I was there - another place I didn’t return to.

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Alan, which dishes do you recommend most at Pukka?

My top reccomendation is to attend one of their ‘wine dinners’. These occur monthly and typically feature 4 different dishes, each paired with two different wines. That way you get to try multiple dishes (and wines).
However, if that’s not your plan, then the recommendation depends on your tolerance for spice levels, and whether you are dining in, or taking out.
As a starter I prefer Gunpowder Prawns or Chicken 65 (but the Prawns won’t travel well, and the Chicken 65 is VERY spicy). For take-out I’d choose the Chaat (which is VERY acidic and bright) or the Kale Salad (IMO better than many salads in most Toronto restaurants).
For mains, I ignore Butter Chicken (as I have a tomato allergy).
Their menu changes seasonally, and two of my favourites are not currently on offer. Vindaloo (Pork or Lamb) is the spiciest dish they offer (so typically is only there in winter). Their Lamb Biryani (much milder) is also excellent - not currently on their listed menu but was included in their most recent wine dinner (and good for takeout). On their current menu I also like the Boatman’s Fish & Prawns (in a lemon coconut broth), but don’t think this will travel well. I’m also a fan of their Pickerel - but not necessarily in the current sauce (red pepper curry) - I think it would be tastier in the ‘Boatman sauce’.
Their sides are exceptional. The french beans are almost always in my order, and the Okra Fries are addictive (but again won’t travel well).
And their patio is open - but I can’t predict the weather.

I was there (again) last night and it was packed on a Monday night (and I’m already booked for the November Wine Dinner - October is sold out).

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Thank you!
I’ve been intrigued by Gunpowder potatoes (had not seen Gunpowder prawns mentioned before your reply), which have been mentioned in the WFD thread. Here is the Dishoom recipe.

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