about 1000 Danforth Ave, across from the mosque
I know squat about the cooking of the Indian subcontinent. That's one reason for my aversion to the cuisine. A lot of squatting has been the usual reaction to my few forays therein. My bowels go into defense mode against the violent attack by the unfamiliar spicing
From the standpoint of ingestion vs excretion, I find the food largely unpalatable. The spicing, not only the heat, is so strong and sharp that I am fighting it; there is no relaxation and enjoyment but rather a gastro-sadistic experience. I get light headed. (Maybe this is what is supposed to happen?) Forget about tasting the ingredients. I am so busy dealing with the attack on the palate. Then there is the sea of oil or ghee, which may contribute to the curious phenomenon of a muddy whilst violent taste.
For some reason, I followed the recommendation in Chowhounds and went to Al Madina. What a surprise! The spicing seemed to be all there but it was refined as these things go. Although it approached my tolerance level, I actually enjoyed the food. I could even taste the principal ingredients in the dish!! And there was minimal oil. I even went back the next week for lunch.
There is a menu, but everyone seemed to be getting the buffet. Dinner is $6.95, lunch $4.95. The choices from memory are a fancy rice, chickpeas,mixed vegetable, chicken, stewed beef, beef kebab (my dinner), soup, nann, appetizer (my lunch) or dessert (my dinner), brown iceberg lettuce salad (I passed on the latter)
At dinner I liked the chicken rice biryani a lot. The beef kebob was good and safe and I ate a lot of this. The lentil soup was OK; I've had a lot more boring. The carrot- walnut halwa (dessert) was good in small quantities, and improved as it cooled to room temperature.
The hits of the lunch buffet were the fried battered onions and a nicely and fragrantly flavoured beef dish. The chicken and mixed vegatables were quite alright (both times), which is more than I can say (from my standpoint) about almost any other dish at one of these places.
I thought that the meals were wholesome, tasty and a nice adventure on a very cheap ticket.
The owner says that he also operates in a food court in Pickering where the cooking is the same.
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