Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Quaint Indian Experience at Matagali

We live in the core of downtown Toronto, in an area considered old Chinatown - this can be told from the relic Chinese restaurants in the area. When we first moved to the area, we were keen to find some gems in the neighbourhood - if they have survived years of competition, there must be good food to be found! We were disheartened early when we tried a small Chinese restaurant that appeared popular and was recommended by a friend, which turned out to be unauthentic and probably the worst meal we've had in Toronto. Since our painstaking experience, we have been hesitant to try new "hole-the-walls" that populate the area, whatever the cuisine.

Last night, we were on our way out for a casual dinner, our usual Friday night routine, when I suddenly thought of Matagali on Elm Street - a restaurant our friend Stella had recently tried and recommended. It is a quaint little restaurant in a run down row of brick buildings - next to a sketchy looking salon and what appears to be a frat house. We head down the stairs to the restaurant and discovered its rustic charm - it is small and cozy, with no more than 10 tables and dimly lit. The 2 member staff was friendly, although service is not speedy as they scurried away into the kitchen, not to be seen for more than 10min at a time. That can only be expected of a small restaurant, and who's in a rush on Friday night anyways? The menu appeared to feature both Indian and Thai cuisine, but I stuck to the Indian items, and can barely recall what Thai food was on the menu.

We started with seafood tikka, which included prawns, fish, and a slightly spicy mango chutney. The butter chicken was rich and very satisfying! I was ready to polish off the whole dish, along with the saffron rice and garlic naan. We also had lamb marsala - the meat was good, but I was distracted by the delicious butter chicken. In the end, I shared very little of "my dish" and Tony polished off the lamb. Overall, our food was comforting and delicious - exactly what I was craving! I can't wait to satisfy my butter chicken craving at Matagali again.

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