Location: 25 Sherway Gardens Road, Etobicoke
Amaya is a (usually) decent quality chain that (usually) serves tasty Indian fare. But the Sherway Gardens location is… odd. I tried it when it first opened, and the food was so atrociously bad that it was nearly inedible.
I figured they deserved another chance — new restaurants often need a month or two to work out all the kinks. I just tried the rogan josh, which features big chunks of lamb in a mildly spicy curry sauce on top of basmati rice.
Yeah, it was pretty bad. It’s so weird, because the other Amaya locations I’ve tried have been pretty reliable, but the Sherway Gardens location is almost like a completely different restaurant.
The flavour of the curry wasn’t bad, but the chunks of lamb were mostly tough and rubbery (with a few tender pieces interspersed throughout to mix things up), the rice was ice cold, and when I got to the bottom of the bowl, there was a big pool of greasy water that was tremendously off-putting.
Location: 5308 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke
I’ve actually already written about Kebab 49, so I’m going to keep this post brief. That was a couple of years ago, and the place is still chugging along, serving some of the best doner in the city.
Yes: Kebab 49 is still great. On this particular visit I got the durum wrap with lamb and veal (durum is a Turkish flatbread; Kebab 49 makes it in-house in their wood-burning oven, and it’s chewy and fresh and amazing).
The lamb and veal doner is outstanding. A lot of shawarama/doner tends to be a bit dry, but not here — there’s just enough fat mixed in to keep things from drying out. It’s perfectly seasoned, and the distinctive lamby flavour really shines through.
But the best part are all the crispy bits from where the rotating stack of meat has come into contact with the fire. This is how you know you’re dealing with a place that knows what’s what. Way too many restaurants start carving too soon, and you end up with sad, soggy meat. Not Kebab 49. You can’t really tell from the photo, but there were delicious crispy bits interspersed throughout the entire wrap. It was glorious.
Assembly Chef’s Hall is Toronto’s first food hall — it’s basically like a food court, if food courts were amazing.
There’s a bunch of interesting restaurants here, though I was homing in on the burger from Resto Boemo, which I wanted to review for my burger blog. But then I saw that Cherry Street Bar-B-Que was serving lamb shoulder as part of a St. Patrick’s Day special, and it was game over. I love southern-style barbecue, and I love lamb. Barbecued lamb? Hell yes.
It comes served on chunky mashed potatoes, and is topped with a generous amount of their Murphy’s Stout BBQ sauce, which was amazing. It was extremely untraditional — it wasn’t nearly as sweet or as acidic as you’d expect, with a rich, tomatoey flavour that’s rounded out by the stout, which adds notes of chocolate and coffee. It sounds odd, but it worked incredibly well with the lamb. I should have asked if I could buy a bottle.
And that lamb was quite tasty, though like pretty much every barbecue place in the GTA, it had almost zero smokey flavour. But in this case I didn’t even particularly mind — the amazing flavour of the lamb was front-and-centre, and it’s hard to complain too much about that. It was tender while still retaining some texture, with some really tasty bark, and just enough fat to keep things interesting, but not enough to overwhelm.