Jaipur Grille: One in Ten Thousand

Toronto is a city of around 5 million people and according to this website, 10,000 restaurants.

Yes. Ten thousand. I’ll be lucky if I get around to trying just the ones in my own neighbourhood.

Although I have discovered many new favourite restaurants in Toronto, this is why I try my best to eat at a new spot any time I go out. I’d like to leave here knowing I tried my best to make a dent in that 10,000.

When my Aunt Heather asked me about trying out Jaipur Grille in the Yonge/Eglinton area, I jumped on the chance.


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I’ve been hearing about this restaurant for a while now (some say the best Indian food outside of Little India!). I couldn’t pass up the chance to cross another restaurant off my list.


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Jaipur Grille opened 8 years ago by head chef Pawan Mahendro. After years of working in other kitchens in India and Canada, he decided to finally open his own place in Midtown Toronto.

I was immediately struck by how classy this restaurant seemed. Indian restaurants have a tendency to be a little rundown or kitschy. But here I felt like I was part of a fine dining experience.

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I wasn’t planning on getting a drink, but the waiter asked if I wanted an Indian beer. The thought of a fresh beer to wash down the spicy food suddenly piqued my tastebuds!

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He also brought us some crispy spicy bread. It was a lot like a chip or cracker and fun to munch on while we waited.

The occasion of this particular visit was to experience Jaiper Grille’s Tasting Menu. A great chance to try out tons of menu items at only $25 a head.

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We started with a taste of two appetizers. Heather and I each chose the Royal Spinach Kabab: spinach patty filled with cottage cheese, dates and cashews.

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It reminded my a lot of these spinach nuggets my mom buys from Costco. Just okay. You couldn’t taste the cashews and the dates only slightly.

My second choice was the Chicken Malai Kabab: chicken breast marinated in fresh cream with cardamom and saffron, finished in the tandoor.

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Now this was really good. The chicken was cooked perfectly and separated well from my fork. Even though it was cooked in a cream sauce, there was just a hint of it and not overpowering.

For her second appetizer, Heather tried the Fish Hyderabadi: grouper filet in a light batter, spiced with roasted coriander and carom.

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They looked like fish sticks!

Heather and I then both chose the same mains. Must be inherited tastes ;) 

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Chana Amritsari.

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Chickpeas in a dark sauce. This was probably my least favourite of the main meal options. I wasn’t a fan of the darker sauce.

Pudina aloo.

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Simple potatoes, I ate these with some of the other sauces.

Rice. Naan.

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The naan was hot upon arrival. A sign that it’s fresh and as pillowy as possible! The rice was actually one of my favourites. Seasoned with saffron, it really stood out and did not taste boring at all.

Yogurt raita.

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A nice cool dipper for the naan to cut the spices of the other dishes. I want to try making this at home!

Xacculi Shrimp: black tiger shrimp cooked in a popular aromatic Goan sauce made with roasted poppy seeds, coconut and red chilli paste.

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This was Heather’s favourite because of the rich red sauce. It had jumbo pieces of shrimp without being too spicy.

Shahi Laziz Paneer: home made cottage cheese simmered in a spiced tomato gravy with honey and cream.

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This was my favourite. The hard chunks of homemade cottage cheese were amazing. I polished off the rich tomato gravy, which again was more aromatic than spicy. I would order a whole dish of this if I were to go back!

Jalebi & Kheer: Indian funnel cake and rice pudding, garnished with roasted pistachios and almonds.

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Dessert was definitely lack lustre after such an amazing meal. We both agreed that East Indian food isn’t really known for its great desserts and we could both do without. The rice pudding was a little soupy and over-spiced. The funnel cake was more like a crunchy candy. Edible, but would not be my first choice for dessert.

Thank you to Heather for taking me out for what I am now deeming the best Indian food I’ve ever had.

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We never once broke out into a sweat because of ludicrous spicing. Nothing was too greasy or creamy. The service was fantastic (including a chat with the head chef and his wife!). As a newbie in the tastes of East Indian, it was the perfect example of just how good and flavourful it can be with fresh ingredients, proper cooking methods and inventive flavouring.

Now I just have 9,970 restaurants left to go ;)

 

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Posted on November 22, 2010, in Restaurants and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Great review! I’m excited to try it :)

    xo

  2. Wow, 10,000 thats a lot! Way to put a dent in though. I totally agree that Indian restaurants are usually not classy, I wish I lived in Toronto so I could visit that one.

  3. Mmm, that looks like fantastic Indian food! I’ve been enjoying North Indian food recently — we have a great chaat place just a few minutes from my house that turns out an amazing array of snack-y treats. There’s no way I could recreate the tastes at home, as I have no idea how to balance the complex flavors created by goodness knows how many spices! I’m happy to just enjoy Indian food made by the experts, though =)

    P.S.
    Opera Girl Cooks is on facebook too! Welcome — I just added you too my page’s favorites =)

    • Liked you on FB too!! Totally agree about Indian food. There’s no way I can (or afford to!) recreate some of the flavours and spices in Indian cooking, so it’s a real treat to have it prepared well for you :)

  4. Oh yum, I wish I had a good Indian place nearby…or wait, heck just some people to go eat Indian food with! All my friends have such boring palettes!

  5. thats papad in the second pic,..platter looks too yum,..glad to know u like indian food,,,;-)

  6. I want to go to india and eat for like a month straight! I’m convinced I was indian in a past life! I have yet to have good indian in LA! is there a big indian population in toronto? maybe they are craving the cold weather.

    • We’re lucky in Toronto that there’s a large population of pretty much every culture! That’s why there’s so many things like Little India, Italy, Portugal or Greektown :)

  7. that crispy, spicy bread is papdum! It’s usually made with lentils which means its high protein…score! They eat it all the time over there.

    Sooo fun seeing all your indian meals! I loved the name “Channa Amritsari” – that’s definitely an homage to Amritsar, the place pictured here:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2aoFD4ODr43O3pnJGwgQgg?feat=directlink

    ahhh india, you pull each and every one of my heartstrings :)
    <3

  8. what a stellar foodie lineup! there are sooo many indian restaurants here in my n’hood. As in about 10 that i could walk to..i need to check them out after seeing your post :)

  9. I love indian food. The recipes worked just fine. Thanks a lot

  10. Ooo I gotta try that place out! I love Indian food and try to make it at home but it obviously just doesn’t taste the same…

    Lemme know if you need help with the remaining 9,970 ;)

  11. I am not a huge indian food fan but that make me want to taste everything you had!! it looks so fresh and delicious!!!

  12. I wish I could just eat naan all day every day.

  13. 10000 restaurants? That is crazy awesome.

    That meal looks insane. I’m not the biggest cheese fan, but I LOVE me some paneer.

    So nice to find another huge hockey fan!

  14. Wow that is a TON of restaurants! This one sounds great- I think the chicken malai kabab would definitely be what I’d choose! :)

  15. I liked you :D I am still trying to decide if I want to make a page special to Faith Fitness Fun….I just don’t know how well I would keep up with it.

    • It took me a while to decide if I wanted a Facebook page too. I finally decided on it because I noticed I was clicking on a lot of the blogs that were popping up in my news feed as opposed to actually opening up my Google Reader…

  16. I love Indian food so much – you are making me want to go out and eat some this second!

    I have to say though, I like the spice level sweaty-hot. Mmm chillies.

  17. This post made me sad because my favorite Indian restaurant closed and there isn’t another good one nearby. Sniffle, sniffle. Everything looks so yummy!

  18. I’d totally want to try a meal like that! So much to choose from, yum!

  19. gah, i love Indian food.

    so, i was reading an article and apparently jake gyllenhaal was filming a movie in toronto and went to a raw foods restaurant everyday with his co-star. does this mean i need to come stay with you in toronto when he films his next? i think yes…

    • Ooooh, I wonder what restaurant it was?? I’ve been to several raw restaurants here… We’ll have to track it down ;)

      Good luck at the gym! Your return will be triumphant!! xo

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