Archive for the ‘Indian’ Category

Debu’s Nouvelle Indian Cuisine (552 Mount Pleasant Road)
December 9, 2009

Yes, it’s really called that. The only place in the neighbourhood that seemed to be open for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon, I didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t expect much. The interior is decked out in a pretty standard ‘nice’ restaurant manner – clean lines, white whites, and not much personality. The walls have alternating strips of wallpaper and stone which is an interesting choice, especially the globules of glue visible holding the stonework in place. I expected pleasant but unremarkable food, and that’s exactly what was delivered. We had the prix fixe (I don’t remember if that is what they called it on the menu, but I expect so; nothing adds pretension like an unnecessary dollop of Francais) which was fairly good value: $20 for three courses.

The most interesting part of the meal was the complementary poppadom which, if my memory serves me correctly, was topped with tamarind and pepper jellies. Probably no better than a poppadom with ‘normal’ condiments, but interesting nonetheless.

For starter, a suspiciously yellow lentil and coconut soup was pleasant, very coconutty, not a lot else to be said about it. Goan fish curry was the – again suspiciously yellow – main, and it too was pleasant, but unremarkable. A dish of naan (pre-sliced; God forbid we’d have to break our own bread) placed in the centre of the table, was unbuttered and somewhat lacking in flavour. Pretty much tasted like bread.

Dessert was not good. Gulab jamun, not served as it should be in a bowl of delicious syrup but atop a ridiculous streak of mango and raspberry puree (the latter being so sweet as to taste like it belonged on toast).

Finally, a nice cup of chai.

Overall, this is a pleasant restaurant, and at $20 it’s worth the price for lunch. But at up to $30 for a main I won’t be back for dinner. I applaud effort to experiment, but when a chef is going to depart from the norm he really needs to ask himself why he is doing it, and if it adds anything to the experience. Aside from the swankier (if somewhat sterile) setting, and the poppadom which was quite fun, this was no better than any of the low-end Indian places that Debu is clearly trying so hard to rise above, and in some instances somewhat worse.

And what on earth are those wine glasses for?

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Nataraj (394 Bloor Street West)
November 14, 2009

OK. Honestly I can never tell one Indian restaurant from another. This one is fairly dingy, perhaps dingier than most. The food is as palatable as that anywhere else, but unremarkable. I always feel Indian is a much better deal for lunch when you can take advantage of the buffet than it is for dinner, when you’re presented with a rather meagre dish of spiced grease.

In summary: good for lunch, avoid for dinner. I’d say the same for every Indian restaurant I can think of (unless there’s no buffet, in which case I’d avoid for lunch too).