Another successful Jean-Talon mission, on the hunt for silver dishes, blistered naanbreads, and golden aromatic sauces. We initially wanted to hit Malhi Sweets, but after noticing that they close at 6 (damn us and our regular workday schedules!), we had to make a quick re-draw of the mission, and Pakistani food came in to save the day. Thank goodness for Moti Mehal! And you know, for all the woe-making about the atmosphere in Indian restaurants on Jean Talon, I rather LIKED the atmosphere here. The walls were red and warm, twinkly christmas lights in evidence, the bathroom was closet-like but very clean, and it just felt kind of… merry. So, major points there!
It’s also a BYOB/Wine, which is another trillion points, more or less, and involved a detour to a most fascinatingly supplied African grocery down the street.. if you’re ever in need of palm cream, smoked fish, black soap, or powdered shrimp, Marche d’Afrique is a must see.
Oh right, we ate stuff! Like samosas – expertly spiced and delicately crisp beyond reason. The dough is flavoured with what I think is toasted cumin, and potatoes are juicy and melting, and swirled with the two sauces provided – one white and hot with fresh chiles and coriander, the other sweet tamarind – ungodly amounts of YUM ensued. And, perhaps more to the point, appetites were whetted. I’d forgotten I was hungry until the first shattering bite of that crust.
The curries arrived ! Yayayayay, it’s like christmas when that happens! We ordered: Fish Curry (non-specified, but may have been Balti), Chicken Vindaloo, Palak Paneer, rice, raita, and 2 naan.
I wish I had known that this place is known for it’s Balti (and it’s Cholay and Haleem, for that matter), or I would have made sure we’d ordered those things, but alas, you live and learn. The vindaloo we did get was tasty, but not incredibly memorable. The fish, though! Tender and sweet and bathed in the most incredible eye-meltingly lazer-guided spicy and slightly sour sauce! This really must have been the balti. Generous chunks of fish, too. I could have eaten that all night, and actually, …. did.
The naan deserve mention – they’re thinner, chewier and with more browned crisp bits than most you find in the city – I’ve heard them described as the Montreal bagel version versus the NYC bagel version, and I found myself an instant fan. Stays nicely textural whilst bathing in curry sauce = yes please.
The Palak Paneer was also a stellar example of the dish – very fresh cheese, incredibly creamy spinach, and shmeared on naan….. *tonguegasm*. I would wait a few minutes without eating, just to clean my palate and try another mouthful of naan + Palak Pan and have my head explode with the kind of bread and cheese I wish I could eat at a moments notice, any time.
If you have the room for it, be sure to ask if they have any Kheer (rice pudding flavoured with rosewater). They don’t always, but it’s worth a taste if you haven’t tried it yet. As for us, we already had a luridly green cake-roll pistachio confection bought for a song at Marche B.K. a few streets and few hours earlier…
God I love giant pictures of cake. *grin*