This Sh*t's Delicious

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Tag Archives: curry

Chasing Free-range Chickens at Over Easy Breakfast

Summary: if you can suffer through the wait times, OEB is worth the long line-up and chaotic billing system.

I don’t really understand why Bridgeland is turning into a mecca for breakfast/brunch joints, but every other week I find myself in another long line-up waiting for (what I hope to be) a delicious start to my weekend. As such, I ended up finding myself in Bridgeland once again on a sunny Sunday with Richard.

The insides are pretty tiny and it shows. It was bustling by the time we got to OEB. There isn’t enough room for patrons to line up near the entrance, so we were split up into two groups: one that just got there and the other for those who got there 15 min earlier than you…at the other end of the restaurant by the kitchen.

I really liked the ambiance of the place. Unfortunately, due to a technical snafu, I seem to have accidentally deleted all my photos, so a written description is the best we can do. There’s a very “cafe” vibe to OEB, with large floor-to-ceiling windows facing the street that let plenty of natural light in. There’s a large centre table to share between multiple parties and side tables for those lucky enough to have come early. The kitchen is partially exposed to the seating area so you can kinda see what the cooks are up to…which is always pretty cool in my opinion.

Kiran’s 2 Cents

The coolest thing for me is the fact that OEB’s eggs from free range chickens that they own on the Sparks egg farm (I couldn’t help but think of this sketch when I heard that –Richard). With that in mind, I got the eggs over easy on a toasted bagel with cherry tomatoes and avocado. I also got home-style fries on the side to carbo-load my busy day consisting of sitting on the couch watching TV.

The fries were the highlight of my dish. Perfectly salted and herbed with oregano, I can honestly say these were the best tasting fries I have had in a while. The guacamole was clearly made from fresh avocados and had a great citrus-y tang. Adding a little bit of hot sauce to the whole ensemble really brought out the flavours.

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t really taste any difference between OEB’s free-run, grain-fed eggs vs. regular store bought organic eggs. I suppose they are one and the same thing though.

My only problem with the whole experience was the payment process. For some strange reason, OEB doesn’t believe in wireless payment terminals that have become ubiquitous in every restaurant around town. Instead, you have to pay at the counter where there’s an overflow of people a) waiting to be seated, b) waiting in line to pay, and c) trying to get to the washrooms through a) and b). This whole process pissed me off, especially cause it doesn’t need to be that way. All the proprietor needs to do is build a heated overflow area outside and the problem would be solved (though to be honest, the sidewalk out front is pretty tiny too –Richard).

Richard’s Ruminations

Between Diner Deluxe, Blue Star and Over Easy (or the OEB as they seem to want to be branded as now), Bridgeland is surely the mecca for hipster breakfasts in Calgary.  Waiting times at all of these places are almost guaranteed to top an hour during peak times on weekends these days, so be sure to show up early and put your name on the waiting list!  Despite the cramped interior, waiting isn’t really that bad at OEB – you can get your coffee along with complimentary banana bread to munch on while you wait.  I agree with Kiran that they probably shouldn’t direct people to wait at the back though, as not only is that the cashier’s area, but that’s also where the “condiment bar” is located.  Not a bad place to hang out if you want to get cozy with some strangers, though!

I too liked the clean, simple interior with retro styling, though I wonder if they ever change the “menu” that seems to be scrawled in chalk on the roof.  They manage to squeeze around 10 tables into the place, along with what I like to call the “community bench.”  The staff was super-friendly, which definitely brightened my morning.  Oh yeah, the place is also fully licenced, which means you can order your coffee liquored up or try their very limited selection of beer and wine.

The menu is pretty straightforward, though with a nice amount of customization – pancakes, french toast, and waffles are fully interchangeable!  I went with the threesome of waffles, thinly-sliced ham and their much-touted eggs (ordered over-medium, which is the best way to identify a quality short-order cook in my opinion).  The waitress was eager to point out that the eggs are enhanced with keratin supplements, though amusingly she didn’t know exactly what that meant (we could hear the wait staff talking to the kitchen staff about it later).  No doubt though, the eggs are a thing of beauty, with extremely rich, brightly-colour yolks.  The waffles and ham were decent, but nothing mindblowing.

Prices are comparable to the other breakfast places in Bridgeland – that is to say, not that cheap, but you can probably get your money’s worth in free banana bread if you are feeling especially avaricious.  Between the cheery atmosphere, stellar service and quality food, I think it’s well worth both the price and the wait!

Summary

I had a good time at OEB. If you discount the horrible payment ordeal, the friendly staff, the trust-fund hipster ambiance, and the great food more than make up for the wait times. I would highly encourage everyone to check it out…with one caveat: get there early! If you want to read up on other reviews on OEB, check out Eat Your City’s review.

Ranking

Kiran Richard
Ambiance 4/5 4/5
Service 3.5/5 4.5/5
Taste 4/5 4/5
Originality 4/5 4/5
Value 4/5 4.5/5
Overall 19.5/25 = 78% 21/25 = 84%

OEB Breakfast Co. on Urbanspoon

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Review of Africana Eatery & Cheers Pub

Summary: While we purely checked out this place for its quirky name, it quickly became apparent to TSD that Africana Eatery is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. 


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Seriously, the only reason we checked this place out was cause of the hilarious name. That’s it. After the disastrous Calgary vs. Pittsburgh game, I suggested to Kent that we check out this place for early dinner. He didn’t even hesitate when he said yes.

Located outside the central Indian district of Falconridge, Africana is actually two steps from the massive Canada Post facility in the NE, off of Airport Blvd NE. It looked pretty ghetto/industrial from the outside, just like a good hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurant should. The mystery of the “& Cheers Pub” became clear once we got there: it was a pub attached to the restaurant by the same owner. It served the same food, in a pub-type setting…kinda similar to the whole Wicked Chilli situation.

The restaurant interior was a pleasant surprise – less hole-in-the-wall, more family-type restaurant. It wasn’t anything too memorable, except that it was actually quite nice and pleasant. Unfortunately, I seemed to have forgotten/neglected to take photos…The current owner is of Indian descent, but originally hailing from Tanzania. Apparently, he first moved to Toronto and then eventually to yyc, where he drove buses for Calgary Transit for a year. Didn’t like it too much, so he got into the restaurant business.

What Africana lacked in decor and ambiance, it made up in its menu, which was quite extensive, and covered not only East African, but North Indian and Hakka cuisines as well. The first thing the server did after she took our orders was to drop off a thali with all kinds of delicious Indian chutneys like yogurt, coconut, tamarind, and some special hot sauce from hell that even I was scared to try (honestly, chilli powder in water anyone?).

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Unfortunately for me, most of the East African dishes were non-vegetarian, so I couldn’t try any of the main courses. However, the appetizers looked pretty mouth-watering and I ended up ordering the Nairobi Bhajia (potatoes coated with flour and fried until crispy, golden brown) and Mogo (cassava fries) with Pili-Pili sauce.

Both the bhajia and the mogo looked delicious, but they tasted even better. I was floored by how delicious the appetizers were. The bhajia were perfectly spiced and battered. I tried them with almost all of the chutney’s but my favourite combination was probably with the tamarind chutney. The mogo fries also turned out to be delicious with a magnificent and satisfying crunch that was complimented by the spicy/tangy paprika sauce – they reminded Richard & I of the sweet chilli potato fries at Singh & I. So good.

Surprised to see a hakka component to their offerings, I couldn’t help but order the vegetarian Hakka noodles. I love this shit…I don’t know why. I guess it’s probably the years of eating Indian Maggi noodles that marry the concept of Chinese noodle dishes with distinctly Indian spices. Anyways, regular readers might remember the Wicked Chilli review where I pretty much trashed their version of the hakka noodles.

 Africana’s version was a 100x better. There was a right proportion of noodles to veggies; it wasn’t overly salty or greasy and you generally taste both Chinese and Indian flavours in the dish. Although I was already pretty full, I couldn’t stop shoving this sh*t into my mouth!

Richard’s Ruminations

I arrived a bit later than the other two, but was just in time to dig in to “Chuma’s World Famous Beef Ribs,” which are short ribs that you can get in a variety of wing flavours (eg. mild/medium/hot/suicide, honey garlic, teriyaki, etc.).  We got sweet-chilli flavoured ones, which fit pretty well – they were nice and tender and the serving size seemed reasonably generous.  As Kiran mentioned, the pili pili mogo was pretty kickass – and also reminded me that I still need to check out Nando’s (perhaps the most prolific purveyor of piri-piri chicken known to man).  I’m guessing pili-pili and piri-piri refer to the same pepper, but maybe that’s just because I’m Asian.

The menu appears to be mostly Indian-based (including the hakka dishes – I don’t understand why these seem to be all the rage these days), but reminding me of the way that “Chifa” restaurants in Peru are Chinese-based – where Peru seemed to have a decent amount of Chinese immigrants, east Africa had Indians.  The immigrants kept their style of cooking but utilized local ingredients – in this case, using things like cassava and pili pili chillies.  It’s a pretty successful melding, I’d say.  As their sign out front says, they do also serve several “western” dishes such as cheeseburgers and Philly cheesesteaks – handy in case there’s a picky eater in your group of friends (though I have no idea how good their burgers are).

Kent and I split a mixed thali, which had both meat and veg curries, along with tandoori chicken – it was a hell of a lot of food for one person, so I think we made the right choice by splitting.  Surprisingly the server asked us how spicy we wanted it – I wonder if they you ask for spicier whether they just grind in some more piri piri chillies into your curries?  It was pretty solid overall, though the roti was hardly a substitute for proper Indian naan.  On the plus side, the roti and rice came standard with the meal – none of that BS where you think prices look good until you realize that rice is $4.  On the downside, if you’re on the Atkin’s diet the carbs might go to waste.

Kent’s Two Cents

For an appy, I ordered a plate of beef ribs. I had to: they claimed they were world famous. They weren’t the spare ribs you would expect at a pub, but were larger beef short ribs. And you definitely get bang for your buck, not only are the ribs big and meaty (that’s what she said?), but you get a big plate of it. It could have been a full meal if I wanted it to, but I was leaving some room for an actual entree. Oh and they tasted great. Might not be the best I have had, but you get awesome value and a big selection of flavours to choose from. Some of the cuts are slightly fatty though. Oh well they are ribs.

Also an appy, the mogo fries. Also delicious. Crispy and dipped in Indian spices with tomato sauce. If you have been to Safari Grill, they are pretty much the same. I would get this stuff all the time if they served it in pubs and other watering holes.

The mix thali was made of a beef curry, chicken curry, 2 veggie curries, BBQ chicken, samosa, rice, roti, and gulab jamun as dessert. So yeah, its a lot of food for what you’re paying. Since I already scarfed down most of the beef ribs, Richard and I decided to split this one in half. Though for a single person, the mix thali alone would make you quite full. Everything was satisfying, and I wouldn’t hesitate to come again if someone asked, but I was less impressed with the main than the ribs and mogo fries. I was probably oversaturated by all the different tastes and got tired, haha.

Summary

What’s interesting is that the current owner used to co-own/run Safari Grill with his brother before they decided to part ways. Kent mentioned how similar the dishes were between the two restaurants..I guess it wasn’t creative differences that caused them to part ways…family problems?

At the end of the day though, I was blown-away. Africana is definitely a hidden gem in Calgary that must be on your “to check-out” list.

If you want to know more about East African/Indian inspired restaurants, check out the Safari Grill vs. Tiffin Curry eat-off organized by Chow down in Cow Town!

Ranking

Kiran Kent Richard
Ambiance 4/6 4/6 4/6
Service 4/6 4.5/6 3/6
Plating 4/6 4/6 4/6
Taste 6/6 5.5/6 5/6
Originality Authenticity 6/6 6/6 5/6
Value 5/6 5/6 4.5/6
Overall 29/36 = 81% 30/36 = 83% 25.5/36 = 71%

Africana Eatery & Cheers Pub on Urbanspoon

Review of Indonesian Kitchen

Indonesian Kitchen is officially named Calgary Sweet House because they originally focused on Indian food and desserts. On urbs (what I call urbanspoon), there is one listing for Calgary Sweet House, and a separate listing for Indonesian Kitchen. They are, in fact, the same place.

INDONESIAN KITCHEN IS IN ALL CAPS, HOW CAN YOU MISS IT?

To make it even more confusing, when you look for this place, its main signage says Calgary Sweet House with Indonesian Kitchen printed on a smaller banner on the window underneath. The place has apparently been open for five years, but only in the past year have they started serving Indonesian food alongside Indian food (on separate menus). I am considered the Gordie Howe of urban navigation in some circles, so I didn’t have trouble finding this restaurant, but I can how some people might (ie. me –Richard).

Richard and I came for the Indonesian food. The owner is actually Indonesian, but I am sure she does a fine job with the Indian food too.

Alright, story time:

The menu picture that almost ended KentI got there first and decided to take a wide photo of the restaurant from the inside. Immediately after I took the photo, this big burly dude asks “was I in the photo?”. No smile was made, he looked pissed. I think I offended him and at that instant my testicles ascended into the depths of my body cavity. I was going to die that night.

My reply was “um, no sir”, and I sat down. I take a photo of the menu because us at TSD (This Sh*t’s Delicious) folk tend to forget names of dishes. BBD (Big Burly Dude) then asks “are you stealing food ideas for your own restaurant?”. This place is in Forest Lawn. If I were to disappear in this lawless land, no one would know! My response was “um sir, I am actually writing a review for a food blog”. Five long seconds passed before he said “oh cool” and went back to his meal.

Now to the food:

This picture makes these look better than they actually are :P

(Kent didn’t take notes and it took us 3 months to get around to writing this, so it’s all me from here! –Richard)

The first thing out was a plate of some sort of salty, southeast-asian tasting chip – it had an… interesting flavour, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it – it was rather stale and unevenly salted/spiced.  Hey, at least they were free!

We ordered a variety of things to split, as the only Indonesian food I’d ever had previously was from a food court in Singapore and I was eager to try something new.  Kiran wasn’t with us so we took the opportunity to order all meat.  Our server recommended the deep fried wontons to start, and we went with the rendang stew and satay skewers to flesh things out.

Who doesn't love the deep fryer?

The wontons were kind of floury tasting, but nice and crispy – and the dipping sauce had that complex tangy/vomit-y (not in a bad way) taste that you only seem to get with Southeast asian cuisine (tamarind-y?  My flavour vocabulary is rather limited here, sadly – if you know what causes the flavour I’m talking about though leave a comment!).  The rendang was pretty good – rich like a curry, but not spicy at all.  The satay skewers had a very unique flavour – kind of grassy, very peanutty, and with a sort of lofty bitterness that reminded me of vodka.  Also, they put fried onions on everything (or something resembling onions, as they didn’t have that strong of a taste).

We were also treated to a plate of ayam goren ibu sari – quite the mouthful!  What was this, you ask?  “Mother’s recipe”, we were told – piping hot and very tasty chicken wings!  Probably the best dish we had there, and we didn’t even order it!

Curry? Nope, just rendang!A satay that's actually peanutty - fancy that!Awesome wings, and not just because they were on the house!I only counted 27 layers... rip-off!

To top it off we got a 30-layer cake, which sounded like a real pain in the ass to make.  It smelled warm and cinammony, and it had subtle yet exotic flavours that I can’t quite describe.  You’ll have to try it yourself!  Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that the coconut juice has floaty bits in it – just like Orbitz, if anyone remembers that.

Doesn't this look like a nice summer drink? Oh yeah, that's when we were there.All in all, the food was decent, though the servings seemed kind of small given the price and the foot wasn’t all that hot (though maybe we were just eating too slow).  The Indian menu, on the other hand, seemed damn cheap from what I saw (lots of dishes under $10, which I’m pretty sure isn’t typical in Calgary!).  The service was good, but it wasn’t very busy so hard to say what it might be like on a different day.

The owner (the husband half of it, anyway) sat down for a chat with us near the end, and was quite the talkative guy – apparently he’s quite the well-traveled renaissance man.  Car importer, correctional officer, school board member, restaurant owner – oh, the stories he could tell!

Summary

The food was hit and miss (though the hits were really quite good), but the people and place were cool (there’s even a stage there where they hold speeches, weddings, and other events), so if you’re ever in the area and in the mood for something different, it’s worth checking out.

-Kent & Richard

Ranking

Richard Kent
Ambiance Interesting TBD
Service 5/6 TBD
Plating 1/2 TBD
Authenticity 5/6? Who knows TBD
Taste 4/6 TBD
Value 3.5/6 TBD
Overall 18.5/26 = 71% TBD

Indonesian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Review of Canada Dosa Corner

Canada Dosa Corner (CDS) has been on my hit list for a long time. It fits every definition of a hole-in-the-wall place (HITW). In a seedy part of town? Check. Ethnic clientele? Check. Almost hilarious lack of attention to detail and decor? Check. Owner and chef from original country? Check. I could go on. To say that I was excited to check out this place would be an understatement.

CDS’s claim to fame is their ginormous dosas (crepes) made from rice flour and are a staple of South Indian cuisine (kinda like pasta for Italians). Unlike most French crepes, dosas are a traditionally savoury dish served either plain or stuffed with meat or potatoes and eaten with sambar (vegetable broth).

We sat around and twiddled our thumbs for a few minutes before our server came out. He was short line cook from Bangalore, India whose family has been in the catering business for generations. I ordered the Mysore Masala Dosa and Idli-Sambar whereas Kent & Richard ordered Minced Goat Dosa and Sri Lankan Lamb Curry. In addition, Richard ordered Mango Lassi while Kent & I decided to stick with Sri Lankan chai.

Kiran’s Thoughts

I have been eating dosas since I was a kid and was excited to finally find an authentic South Indian eatery as opposed to the saturated North Indian fare that one typically finds in Calgary. I couldn’t resist ordering Idli Sambar (steamed rice cakes) for my appetizer. Like dosas, I have been eating idlis like a good boy since I was 5 and was anxious to compare them to the ones my mum makes at home.  The Mysore Masala Dosa came stuffed with mashed potatoes, onions, green chillies all cooked in aromatic Indian spices. All dosas came with the standard sambar and two assorted chutneys.

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As you can tell from the above picture, these dosas are frickin’ massive. Believe it or not, that’s the way they are made back home. When your portions get this big, it is pointless to maintain any decorum by using utensils – I dug in with my hands, using my fingers to tear the dosa into smaller chunks and dipping them into either one the sambar, onion chutney, or tomato chutney.

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IMG_0031.CR2The dosa was exactly like my mum makes it – mix of crispy and soft with just the right amount of salt in the batter. The stuffed potato also was perfectly done. The prize, however, had to go to the sambar. It was everything I could ask for – a perfect blend of spicy, salty, tangy, and umami. It was like being transported back to a food stall in India with every bite. Absolutely fabulous.

Idli is typically had as an appetizer/breakfast, but is a time-consuming dish to make as the rice cakes have to be steamed. The idlis were piping hot when they came out, fresh out of the steamer. They were a tad stickier than I am used to but were fluffy and moist.  The idli also came with the standard thoroughfare of sambar, onion and tomato chutney. IMG_0055.CR2

The only issues I had with CDS was the relatively poor service and the off-putting taste of the chutneys. There was a moment in time where the server completely forgot about us and we had to ask him a couple of times to refill our water. Also, the Sri Lankan chai that Kent and I ordered turned up towards the middle of the meal instead of the beginning…or even the end. As for the chutneys, I just wasn’t a big fan of them. They had a weird off-putting taste which I can’t describe that completely turned me off them.

Richard’s Ruminations

The place smelled delicious even when standing outside in the parking lot – that was surely a sign of good things to come!  Entering the restaurant, we were surprised to see that it was completely empty, given how much hype this place has been getting (though there were a few tables with reservation placards on them).  Like many an ethnic restaurant, they had sweets prominently displayed in glass cases, which caused some excitement in the group (not for me though; I’m not a fan of Asian desserts in general).  The menu, on the other hand, sparked my interest substantially – ultimately, Kent and I decided to split a goat dosa as well as a Sri-Lankan lamb curry.

The curry came out first, quite quickly (probably one of the few things that is slow-cooked and hence already made – the waiter made sure to inform us that they freshly cook virtually everything upon order).  The curry came with rice by default (as it should, IMO), a nice change from many places where prices for curry may seem deceptively low if you don’t take into account the extra rice order.  The lamb was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the depth of spices was terrific, though there were a lot of bones in the curry.

Then came the dosas.  These things were f*cking huge!  They were literally the length of your torso and looked like they could feed a small country.  The crepes themselves were thick (for a crepe) yet crispy, with decent filling and a few nice chutnies on the side.  I also ordered a mango lassi, which ended up being kind of plain tasting.

Kent’s Two Cents

Everyone, this place is effin amazing. South Indian/Sri Lankan cuisine is hard to come by in Calgary. The dosas are gigantic and could be ordered on its own if you are looking for a meal for yourself. And if you are not that adventurous, the more well known Indian dishes are also excellent. It might be my favourite place in the city for butter chicken, and I NEVER order butter chicken at an Indian restaurant (its equivalent to the California roll for sushi for me). The service could use a bit of work depending on the server, but that is mostly due to miscommunication and a language barrier. Don’t let that stop you from visiting Dosa Corner, everything there is absolutely delicious.

Summary

It is hard not to see why CDS was recently crowned as the hidden jewel of Calgary 2011 by Avenue Magazine. Although the service was ok, and the location out of the way, CDS is an must for everyone looking for a taste of authentic South Indian cuisine. This is definitely where the real locals eat. I took a huge dump the next with a solid ring of fire around my anus and that’s how I knew it was good times. Thank you, CDS!

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Ranking

  Kiran Kent Richard
Ambiance N/A 4.5/6 4/6
Service 3/6 4.5/6 3/6
Plating 6/6 4.5/6 6/6
Taste 5/6 6/6 10/12
Authenticity 6/6 6/6 6/6
Value 5.5/6 5/6 5.5/6
Overall 25.5/30 = 85% 30.5/36 = 85% 35.5/42 = 85%

Canada Dosa Corner on Urbanspoon

Review of Wicked Chili

In our relentless quest to expand our gastronomic palates, we look to all kinds of sources for ideas on new restaurants to try – in this case, Groupon (or one of those similar sites) was the hook that pulled us in with a $40 food for $20 voucher.  Having decided to finally check it out, Kiran called to make reservations, only to find out that they were “very busy” and essentially full.  Just to be sure, Kent went to check it out in person and discovered that the place was half empty.  Perhaps the place is much busier at lunch, but it still seemed odd that the person on the phone was willing to turn us away when there were tons of available seats.

The venue is a curious little joint on 17th Ave. and 4th St., right next to La Casita Mexicana, with which it shares ownership (and apparently wait staff).  The interior is styled with some Indian-looking architectural features, along the lines of a typical budget Indian buffet-style restaurant.

Kiran thought this place was supposed to specialize in Hakka cuisine (the Indian-Chinese fusion style, not traditional Chinese Hakka), however to his severe disappointment (as you’ll see below), it turned out to be a mere footnote on the menu.  The Hakka menu was made up of a measly 5 or 6 dishes with no descriptions, only a strange statement that you check with the waiter for “prices and availability” of these specific dishes.

Richard’s Ruminations

We started just by ordering drinks (chai for me and Kiran), though had we known how long it would take between ordering drinks and food,  we would probably have ordered everything at once.  Slow service was the name of the game that evening – not too surprising given that there seemed to be only 2 waiters serving both Wicked Chili and La Casita Mexicana, with a few more busboys running drinks and plates.  No wonder they tried to turn us away!  The chai was alright, though unsweetened – I felt it could have used a bit more spice and less tannins (it would have helped if the staff actually brought out sugar with the tea instead of making me walk up to them and demand sugar –Kiran).

Aloo Kulcha – it’ll blow your mind

Much to Kent’s dismay, just as we were all getting ready to order the Baingan Bharta (eggplant mash), we were informed that they were out of vegetable samosas and eggplants! We ended up ordering a number of dishes to share, including till mill zhinga (masala shrimp with naan), okra masala, paneer pakoras, Hakka noodles, aloo kulcha (potato-filled naan) and lamb vindaloo, with a side of saffron rice.

The till mill zhinga was essentially a sweet and sour shrimp, though not as sweet or sour as what you might typically find in Chinese restaurants.  Sadly, the shrimp was overcooked and hard, but the naan that came along with it was deliciously light and well buttered.  The okra dish was ok but rather salty; similarly, the Hakka noodles were on the salty side as well (which I thought was fine as I felt it was a rather plain dish to begin with – just stir fried egg noodles with cabbage, peppers, onions and chili flakes).  The vindaloo had a nice kick to it, and had a good mix of meat and potatoes.  Likely the best dish of the night was the aloo kulcha – like a perogie but better, with a silky potato and cilantro interior and a buttery naan exterior.

Kiran’s Judgement

This place is getting a lot of buzz and I don’t know why.  Maybe cause it’s on the prime 17th Ave SW strip. Either way, they have been pissing me off for weeks. Every time I would call to make a reservation, they would be “fully booked.” I am guessing this was just a ploy employed by the owner to hype up the place and make it sound super popular.

Another thing that irritated me about the restaurant was it’s supposed Hakka cuisine offerings. The wickedchili.ca website clearly states that it offers Hakka cuisine, and has an entire menu dedicated to it under the Oh Calcutta! brand, which is oddly at the same address as Wicked Chili. Clearly, what happened is the owners tried to make a go at it with Hakka cuisine, didn’t work out, switched to Indian cuisine, and left a few Hakka dishes in there so as to qualify for the “Hakka” moniker.

The third thing that pissed me off was the restauranteur’s reluctance to make any of the Hakka cuisine dishes claiming that it would take too long – I actually had to cajole him into making the dish for me. What the hell kind of restaurant refuses to make a dish cause it takes too long? Don’t fucking include it on the menu then if you don’t want to make it. Okra and Hakka noodles – who orders this shit?  Oh yeah, Kent and Kiran.

All the above would have been tolerable/ignorable had the food been actually good. I ordered the Hakka noodles and it was a disappointment. It was good, but only because it was greasy as fuck and was doused in salt. What wouldn’t taste good with lots of grease and salt ? To boot, the veggies didn’t serve any purpose except as fillers. It was like putting a scoop of noodles in your mouth, followed my a fistful of shredded cabbage to chase the noodles down. W.T.F.

The only redeeming quality about this restaurant were the paneer pakoras and aloo kulcha, which were straight out of heaven. I food-gasmed in my brain and mouth after one bite.  It didn’t hurt that the naan was slathered in butter, and hence, was super soft and moist. The decision to sprinkle the paneer pakoras with chaat masala was inspired and added a touch of tanginess that was very addictive.

Ultimately, the aloo kulcha is pretty much the only reason to visit this “restaurant.” These guys badly need a restaurant intervention from Gordon Ramsay..

Kent’s 2 Cents

This vindaloo was so spicy that it made this picture blurry – actually it is just the phone cameraSo about the food? It actually wasn’t that bad. I enjoyed the amount of spice that was in the okra and lamb; not enough to give you the “ring-of-fire” the next morning, but had the right amount to stimulate your senses. The Hakka noodles tasted fine, but it was guilty of false advertisement. It was more Chinese, not enough Indian. The spices you associate Indian food with were absent from the dish. Both the okra and the Hakka noodles were a bit too salty for my taste. If they dialed the salt down a little, it would taste much better. The highlight of my visit was the potato naan. It consisted of carb on carb, doused in grease. In other words, potato inside naan bread, brushed with ghee (butter). Extremely filling, and would work really well with any curry or sauce. Hell, I could eat it on its own everyday. Butter really does make anything taste good.

Wicked Chili is a decent Indian restaurant with some disappointing service that undermined the overall experience. Prices were nothing out of the ordinary (as far as Indian restaurants go), and the food was a mix of a few hits and a few misses. Maybe next time I will visit when it is not a Friday when everyone is finishing work.

Summary

Ultimately, I found the food to be pretty good overall (with a few misses), but the service could definitely have been better – it certainly seemed busy enough to warrant additional staff, especially if they were going to be sharing with La Casita Mexicana (which I think was even busier). If you’re looking for Hakka cuisine, though, you could probably do better elsewhere.

-Richard

Ranking

  Richard Kiran Kent
Ambiance 3/6 3/6 5/6
Service 2/6 2/6 2/6
Plating 3/6 3/6 5/6
Taste 4/6 4/6 4/6
Authenticity 4/6 5/6 4/6
Value 4/6 3/6 5/6
Overall 20/36 = 56% 19/36 = 53% 25/36 = 69%

Wicked Chili (17 Ave SW) on Urbanspoon

Delicious Japanese Curry

I am generally a pretty lazy person (but I would consider myself efficient). So I usually don’t like to invest too much time into cooking my meals. If you are like me, then you might enjoy this curry recipe (thanks to Margaret for sending this to me).

This is my take on it:

  • The dish doesn’t take much time to whip up

  • The curry is not spicy, and it is not supposed to be, so you’ll have to throw in some extra spices if you want to make it more interesting

  • The ingredient list is not complicated – go to your nearest T&T to pick up the Japanese curry cubes.

  • It tastes like my momma’s curry (and it is a pretty damn tasty curry)

 

Bingo, bango, bongo. Can’t get easier than that.

 

Love,

Kenter