Bhojan Alley is an Indian restaurant that offers modern Indian dishes along with a list of signature cocktails made with tamarind, star anise and curry powder.
Self-proclaimed as “that Indian restaurant in Little Portugal”, the Dundas Street West space doesn’t look like much when it comes to interiors, but the magic begins when the food hits the table.
It’s the same people behind Tacorito and Khao Hakka, which focuses on Indo-Chinese cuisine. The restaurateur brothers have teamed up with one of their longtime chefs to pioneer this new take on Indian cuisine.
Chef Arote uses 12 years of cooking experience in India, Cyprus, USA and Canada to create a combination of classic Indian dishes and other modern fusion options that come mainly from western regions and northern India.
Murgh makhani, better known as butter chicken ($14) is an absolute staple. Hearty amounts of cream are key to the rich tomato sauce with chunky chunks of tandoori chicken.
Another classic is chana masala ($13), a chickpea curry made with a blend of whole spices, tomatoes, onions and cilantro.
The Koliwada fish and chips ($15) is coated in a thick red chili batter and served on a bed of masala fries alongside a mint and cilantro chutney. The popular Mumbai dish was created by a fishing colony known as Kolis, where the name “Koliwada” comes from.
The spicy basa fish is the best thing I’ve tried all night, perfectly crispy with so much flavor in every bite.
A close second is the lamb chops ($15) which come on spicy mashed potatoes with chutney on the side. The chops are marinated overnight in homemade spices and yogurt, then cooked on skewers in a clay oven for an authentic barbecue taste.
There are also several small plates inspired by Indian street food, like biryani bombs ($9), fried and filled with pungent rice flavored with rosewater, peas, carrots and cheese.
Their recipe for gulab jamun ($6) comes in a milk chocolate tart, with the center being a ball of deep-fried semolina dough soaked in aromatic saffron syrup. It is cooked and then chilled before serving.
The cocktail menu is a trip to India in small sips and transforms your usual margarita, pina colada and Moscow mule (here it’s a Bombay mule) with Indian spices and homemade syrups.
Their version of a pina colada is called Kerala backwaters ($14) after a state on India’s tropical Malabar coast where many coconuts grow and the network of canals, or backwaters, is extensive.
It’s made with Bacardi Gold rum and coconut cream, topped with curry powder and star anise.
Madras Spice ($14) is akin to a margarita with Don Julio Silver tequila, fresh lime juice, and homemade tamarind puree for extra tangy flavor.