BY CRAIG MOY
The question of authenticity is often raised when discussing the various ethnic foods available in Toronto. It’s a frequent topic of conversation when it comes to Indian fare, as diners seek out the dosa to rival what they had in Kerala, or complain about how the spice profile of vindaloo has been toned down too much for Canadian palates. At Amaya the Indian Room, chef and owner Hemant Bhagwani has consistently risen above the debate; the menu at the fine-dining flagship of what is now a 15-restaurant empire is respectful of India’s diverse regional dishes, but chef Bhagwani has never been shy about adding modern preparations and local ingredients to the mix.
Starting in a few weeks, the offerings get even more inventive, as the restaurant rolls out new spring menu items to complement its tried-and-true favourites. Among the updated offerings? Chicken tikka with milk fritters, saffron dip and mint foam, prawns in mango curry with beetroot gel, and scallops with pickled lemons, shallot confit and coconut snow. And through to the end of April, Amaya diners can also choose to indulge a craving for street-style bites (always popular in this city), as the restaurant has extended its Khao Ghalli (“eat street”) festival. The authentic-with-a-twist offerings—like kale pakoras with tomato chutney and pani puri served with tamarind, orange and mint waters—are available à la carte or incorporated in the chef’s tasting menu.
All photos by Craig Moy