[ Run for the Bhel ]
Bombay Bhel Thornhill
230 Commerce Valley Dr E. (Hwy 7, 1 block west of Hwy 404, next to the Hilton)
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Hours: see http://www.bombaybhelthornhill.com/ma...
i first went to bombay bhel thornhill (there are multiple bombay bhel locations in toronto, all under different ownership -- the food quality will vary depending on location) a year and a half ago, when first dating my significant other, at its old location ..
since then, it's been completely revamped & modernized, yet with culturally appropriate decorations .. and vastly more spacious .. and as we shall see, the food is just as good as before ..
one aspect of bombay bhel that i rave about are the varieties of dishes available .. most other places have the curries, the naan (plain, garlic, etc) .. but this place has stuff i haven't seen elsewhere ..
we started with appetizers (what? indian appetizers?) .. these are more indian "junk food" or street food .. typically not served in restaurants ..
the Bhel Poori - a mixture of bhel (think rice krispies), potato, onions, sev (fine fried noodles), blended with tamarind sauce .... the sweet but tangy tamarind sauce gives this dish an explosion of flavour, while the bhel, potato, crunchy disc, & sev create a slew of contrasting textures ..
the Sev Poori is similar in flavour, but offers a completely different texture and delivery method .. there are small crunchy crackers/disks underneath the potato, sev, & tamarind sauce .. you pop everything in your mouth (eating it bite-by-bite can get real messy) .. the tanginess of the tamarind, the hard satisfying crunch of the cracker, the light crispiness of the sev, the softness of the potato .. this definitely keeps me coming back ..
as with most indian restaurants, eating of the main dishes is done with flatbreads .. the naan is nice and crusted, while the inside is light & fluffy ..
the bhatura is something i've only seen here at the bhel .. it is slightly less dense than naan, but it's been deep fried .. oh yea, that's right .. the deep frying process creates even larger pockets of air as it cooks, leaving the edges nice and crispy .. it's used to pick up food just like naan, but you can't argue with a deep fried alternative .. there's a little bit of greasiness, but it's neither heavy nor overwhelming ..
the channa masala is a mild curry with chickpeas .. the chickpeas are softened but not mushy .. the dish doesn't carry a lot of heat or spice .. it's what you'd expect from a channa masala dish - but neither disappointing nor mindblowing ..
the lamb vindaloo contained perfectly tender chunks of lamby goodness .. the muttony flavour was well-pronounced .. the vindaloo curry carried a good amount of heat, but was also thick & tangy, almost like a barbecue sauce meets tomato paste, with a hint of indian spices .. the thick gravy was perfect for sopping it up with the naan and bhatura, delivering intense flavour & some heat to the palate ..
the butter chicken truly tasted like its name -- creamy buttery gravy, with tender chunks of boneless tandoori chicken .. there's a mild sweetness to sauce, balancing the tang from the tomato .. each smell & taste of the sauce was indulgent, the buttery flavour clearly the theme ingredient ..
we completely wiped the serving bowl clean -- literally -- wiping the insides with naan and bhatura until we could see our own reflections at the bottom of the bowl ....