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Amaya Bread Bar Raises the (Indian) Bar

Amaya Bread Bar ranks among the top handful of Toronto's Indian restaurants.

Amaya Bread Bar offers a private room.

Amaya Bread Bar offers a private room.

Amaya Bread Bar ranks among the top handful of Toronto’s Indian restaurants.

Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Bread Bar follows the trendy New Indian style, which favours a lighter, more inventive touch that borrows Western spices and flavours.

Yet New Indian creativity doesn’t mean a thing if it isn’t backed up with first-rate technique – and most of the time, this kitchen has that, in spades. Its highs are very high, indeed.

Take its lamb ‘lollipops,’ whisper-tender lamb chops animated with a balanced mint/fenugreek sauce.

Equally beguiling is the deeply smoky tandoori beef tenderloin jazzed by a red-wine cumin curry zapped with just the right amount of heat.

The most interesting veg is eggplant, in tender chunks, swaddled in a thick, sweet/sour tamarind-based sauce.

And trad veggie dishes (chickpea masala, lentil makhani, spinach with paneer) are adroitly prepared.

Among starters, the killer app is samosa chaat – a fat, potato-stuffed samosa drizzled with a lively coriander-tamarind chutney and set atop a bed of al dente, perfectly sauced chickpeas.

Not everything excels: The spice-crusted halibut is slightly overcooked and blandly crusted, and both jungle chicken curry and chicken chettinand are, by this kitchen’s high standards, run of the mill.
But a super-rich kulfi and first-rate sweet platter (masala-spiced chocolate truffle, nut brittle, spiced shortbread) soothe any disappointment.

At lunch, the grilled, naan-wrapped sandwiches are pleasant, nothing more, with the butter chicken trumping the thoroughly mediocre coconut curry shrimp – an unfortunate fate for the city’s best naan.

Private room available as a business meeting venue.

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