‘Lentils were a standout’

The Amaya Indian Room has been at 1701 Bayview since 2007, but our three reviewers had never been there, even though two say they’re fans of Indian food.

“I must have passed Amaya dozens of times and didn’t give a thought to having a meal there,” said Kathy Oriotis, of Randolph Rd. “I’m glad we got the opportunity to try this restaurant.”

“Although I have visited many of the restaurants on the Bayview strip (including Amaya Express, down the street) I had yet to try Amaya,” said Kathryn Champion, Rutherglen Rd.

“I only eat Indian food occasionally,” said Anthony Regan, Parklea Dr. “I must say that I wasn’t exactly keen on the idea, but am glad I went through with it. Luckily for me my two other reviewers were well versed with Indian food, and led the way.

Dining Critics July 2015“We ordered two appetizers and three mains. But even before the appetizers arrived the waiter returned with an amuse bouche for us – three bite-sized pakoras with sauces.”

“It came with two nicely contrasting sauces – cool cilantro and hot chili. Although the pakora was dry the sauces were tasty and livened it up:” Champion.

Their two appetizers were cauliflower and eggplant.

“The cauliflower was an immediate hit for all three of us. Although the spices did not strike us as traditionally Indian, more Thai, it was crispy, spicy (not too hot) and required self-restraint on all of our parts to not gobble it up too quickly:” Champion.

“All three of us commented about how flavourful and different it tasted:” Regan.

“The eggplant was served as breaded and fried rounds. Nothing too exciting although the eggplant was nicely cooked and proper preparation had removed the bitterness:” Champion.

“We were off to a terrific and flavourful start:” Regan.

The three main dishes were laal maas, a spicy tomato-based lamb curry, butter chicken (selected by Regan – “I decided to stay within my known parameters,”) and daal makhani, a dish with slow simmered black lentils, tomatoes, garlic and butter. “We also ordered some basmati rice as a side which helped with all the sauces:” Oriotis.

“The lamb was very tender and delicious, although I found it a bit spicy for my taste. The butter chicken was enveloped in a rich, tasty sauce that paired perfectly with the rice:” Regan.

“The lentils were a standout. In a lovely creamy tomato sauce with a nice hint of spice. The lentils were al dente – cooked perfectly and not mushy:” Champion.

Her companions agreed.

“Superb and full of flavour. Not too spicy but so delicious and a nice texture to them:” Regan.

“Perfectly cooked in a rich sauce:” Oriotis

Three kinds of naan accompanied the main course: plain, onion and sage, and a mint paratha. “I knew that Amaya has been admired for its Naan since it opened. The plain version was wonderful and light and fresh, the onion and sage was an interesting twist. We all agreed that we would try different variations on this at home:” Champion.

All three agreed they would recommend Amaya.

“I have relatives who are vegetarian and I made a mental note to suggest they dine at Amaya. Highly recommended for the quality of food and the service:” Regan.

“The food was very good and I look forward to visiting again with my family:” Oriotis.

“All in all a fine meal and great conversation:” Champion.

The Amaya Indian Room is one of only two Leaside restaurants participating in Toronto’s annual Summerlicious festival, which runs from July 3 to 26 (the other is Against the Grain). The prix fixe format offers a three-course meal for $18 (lunch) or $25 (dinner).

Amaya founder and owner Hemant Bagwani says that some changes are coming to the Indian Room as of July 15: “We’ll have a new chef taking over the kitchen and a new tasting menu using the best seasonal ingredients available. And we’re adding dosas and south Indian crepes.”