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Restaurants & Bars 6

Chowfind: Pili Pili

Fwagra | Aug 21, 201306:19 PM

My friend and I have missed Peponi Grill for years. That was the weird place in a non-descript office building near the Don Valley Parkway and Sheppard that served authentic East African (Ismaili) food. It was the only place that did it well, as far I can recall.

Well, I have found a replacement finally: Pili Pili. We started with samosas (three kinds, all great). Beautiful thin but substantial wrapper with detailed truly varied fillings. Very nice. Then, some mogo (cassava fries, dusted with speical East Afican spices). Oh yeah. That's the stuff. Think of the best thick French fries, but lighter, airier, fluffier. Served with three chutneys: tamarind, spicy, and the green refreshing one. Now we're having fun. Delicious deep-fried kebab balls are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.

Then, the grilled meat, which features very prominently on the menu. Oh, the meat. So much meat! This is a fairly carnivorous cuisine, far as I can tell. Beef mishkaki is chunks of grilled beef that has been marinating for days. Beef shortribs (Korean cut) are really nice, too, marinated similarly to the mishkaki. Then, barbecued chicken breast is surprisingly moist. It's grilled with the bone and skin on, which delivers flavour and succulence.

This was a wonderful but almost vegetableless meal. Remember, their main business now is catering and take-out (grill-it-yourself-at-home). But, I think they might expand their menu as time goes on. They really just set up a month or two ago.

Our host, Zilu, the owner, is one of the nicest fellows you could meet. Truly passionate about delivering good, quality, simple, honest food. He will happily and pleasantly guide the uninitiated through his ancestral cuisine, and he is also a really friendly and knowledgable guy in general.

I will be interested in other Chowhounders' opinions on this wonderful place. It's at 1960 Lawrence Avenue East.

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