So Crabby, I finally went to the new Padmanadi location tonight with our friend Betty Cracker.
It’s so beautiful.
Sometimes restaurants can be a little awkward about patrons taking pictures. Not Padmanadi – the hostess almost insisted I take a picture of their Buddha (apparently it’s carved from “living stone”).
We were seated in the back part of the restaurant, which was quite empty when we arrived (shortly before six o’clock), but didn’t stay that way for long. Those A-shaped chair backs are pretty stylin’, wouldn’t you say?
Betty was all shy about having her picture taken. “Don’t put me on your blog!” she demanded. Sure, Betty, you got it. I hate that – people are not nearly as ugly as they think they are.
See? Not hideous in the least. (On the other hand, I know you took a picture of me today, Crabby, and I dread seeing it here).
What about the food? you say. Really, the place could be a in a barn and people would still line up to eat the food.
We each chose an appetizer. Betty picked her favourite – Satay skewers ($6.99 for 5). I don’t think anyone would be fooled into thinking they were chicken (they’re deep-fried seitan), but no matter – still delicious, and the citrus-y peanut sauce was extraordinary. I had trouble choosing between the Roti Canai ($7.99 for 2) and the Fried Spring Rolls ($6.99 for 6).
With the help of our server I went for the spring rolls. I found them a little greasy and also a little dull – the filling was mostly shredded cabbage. I think I would have been happier with the roti canai, which is like a cross between a crispy crepe and a chapati. It comes with a spicy curry sauce for dipping. I can’t remember if I’ve ever had it at Padmanadi but it’s my favourite appetizer at Tropika.
Betty’s main course choice was another favourite of hers, Sweet and Sour Nuggets ($12.99). I had misgivings about the word “nuggets” in the name (visions of McNuggets). Not to worry – Betty picked another winner. It looks like it might be your standard food court sweet and sour chicken, but it was so much better – and in this case you might actually mistake it for real chicken if you weren’t paying close attention.
Spicy Eggplant was one of my favourite dishes at the old location and I noticed on the new menu they have a dish called Spicy Coconut Eggplant which sounded even better. I have to say I didn’t really notice any pronounced coconut flavour – I thought they might have even given us the wrong dish. Betty thought she detected coconut – she said it was more a “mouthfeel” thing than a distinct flavour. I’m still not sure, but I made a mental note to quote her about mouthfeel. I liked it anyway – it has a lovely smokiness.
Betty passed on dessert, but I was very excited to sample from their expanded dessert menu. I don’t think I’ve had dessert at Padmanadi before, apart from the cake they sometimes serve at their buffet events. In keeping with my theme of indecision, I couldn’t decide between the Chocolate Mousse ($6) and the Crème Brûlée ($8). I love crème brûlée and was curious to see if a non-dairy version could succeed. However, Ms. Cracker strongly suggested I try the chocolate mousse – and by that I mean she browbeat me into ordering it.
Sorry crème brûlée, we have a date for next time, I promise. The mousse was rich, smooth and surprisingly creamy, like a ganache made with high quality dark chocolate. An extremely satisfying end to the meal.
I can’t wait to go back, again and again. I especially want to try all the exciting new things on their brunch menu.
PS. If you go, Crabby, you can park across the street in the 99 Street Market lot – their website says it’s okay (but I’d avoid the stalls reserved for MilArm – you know, the gun shop).
Posted by Jean Poutine