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Good Grub - Belle Restaurant, Bathurst at Finch, Persian-Israeli-Russian

Ambaherd | Jul 12, 201908:14 PM     4

Belle Restaurant
4949 Bathurst St
(416) 222-0033
Seven days, 9am to 10pm
LLBO
Modest pricing
A.K. Day (55 years+) is Wednesday, 15% discount if cash.
No pork, no open dairy, no mix.
I will return next week for lunch. For the shawarma, tomorrow!

The owners are a genteel but unpretentious, older, Iranian couple. Their goal seems to be to run a proper, neighbourhood restaurant that serves normal food to normal people at normal prices. The goal is noble, but I don’t know if Toronto is ready for this sort of thing.

The room is nice, bright and comfortable. Enjoy the Persian divan in the back with a friend or two.

There are four cooks, from Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Israel. The food has antecedents in all these cooking cultures, but the flavouring is not weird nor strong notwithstanding its exotic origins. The menu is surprisingly large and varied, ranging from kebabs (Lula veal $12.99/16.99) to salmon ($20.99) to take-out items such as falafel ($5.99) and shawarma ($6.99). Lots of grill items. My guess is that the Azeri-Persian influenced items are the best bet.

I have been here three times for lunch. You can get a good meal here at a reasonable price, although it helps to learn to negotiate the menu. But maybe everything is good, except for the two soups that I hit. Lunch differs from dinner by the portion being smaller.

Lunch 1. With my ($12.99) main came (a) a desultory lettuce salad with some bits in it. The house salad dressings are OK, but I put on it the fluid from the “torshi” (Persian pickling). This was a good decision and invigorated the salad, (b) a small bowl of the “torshi”, which was very good, better than I have had elsewhere, (c) warmed pita, indifferent and I passed on the calories.
The main was Lula kebab (minced veal, one skewer at lunch ($12.99), two skewers at dinner, ($16.99). The skewer was large and delicious, open flame grilled, even though not cooked on charcoal. There is a choice of sides, I chose the sliced fried potato “crisps”, done with a bit of dill and a touch of garlic. These were good, but best if you ask for them to be done ”medium” instead of crispy. The green borscht ($6.99) was OK but it wasn’t the sorrel soup that I expected (I couldn’t ask the Persian waitress, I don’t do farci). It wasn’t to my taste. Maybe the wrong cook made it.

Lunch 2. $9.99. Same salad, extra torshi fluid, torshi. Both were successes again. Beet borscht ($5.99). I left it after a couple of spoonfuls, but admit that
I declined the sour cream. Thin in taste, as if the cook had no understanding. Tongue, sliced fried potatoes ($9.99). The tongue was some slices, boiled, in a bowl with a lot of broth. I fished out the tongue and ate it from a side plate. I like tongue. The broth was flavoured sort of Persian-Azeri (I think), delicious and enough broth that a soup was unnecessary. A big success. Same good potatoes.

3. A chicken shawarma, $6.99. As good as any that I ever have had. Worth a detour. The chicken was moist, tender and beautifully spiced with a variant (?) of the mystery spice mixture. A good selection of “salatim”. I chose pickled beets, onions, tomatoes, coleslaw, and topped it all with a garlicky hummus, which believe it or not, went perfectly. Generous with the vegetables but don’t be shy to ask for more; it is a fight in some other places.

Next time I will seek out the more Persian items.
Please, someone report on other items in the menu.

Belle Bar and Restaurant
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