Colaba Junction is the new kid in Toronto’s restaurant scene. Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach gives us an exclusive first look at what’s on the menu at the this Indian spot.
While Little India in Toronto’s east end has long been a natural go-to for curry cravings, College and Bay is having a bit of a Mumbai moment of its own, with the recent addition of Bombay Street Food, and the brand new Colaba Junction.
Combining the culture of three distinct regional influences, the restaurant pays homage to the Parsi, Anglo-Indian and Koli peoples of the Colaba district in Mumbai and the energy and fashion forward nature of this diverse neighbourhood.
Chef Ajay Sherma collaborated with Chef Hemant Bhagwani (The Fat Beet, Indian Street Food, Amaya) to create a menu that is unique to Toronto – a culmination of authentic eats that the chefs grew up eating – home cooked meals just like their own mothers made for them.
While takeaway and delivery comprise a good portion of their business, there is plenty of seating at red lacquered high tops that flank the entrance or the nearby four tops that circle the back of the space. Playful floral wallpaper makes the photographs of the namesake city pop, and a brightly lit arrow leaves no doubt as to where the magic happens.
Owner Arun Nath was passionate about delivering a product that Toronto hasn’t seen yet and based on the presentation alone, was successful. Miniature versions of beds that they used to sleep on in Mumbai act as a nostalgic plating for their Panni Puri ($6.25) here with side ‘waters’ used for pouring directly into the potato pockets.
Heftier helpings like the Meat Thali ($17.95) offer an authentic array of Indian eats, a meal that is served artfully in small bronze pots, echoing again the tradition backed behind the menu. Like a value meal combo, this display contains everything but the drink – from veg to dal, naan, rice, pickles, meat curry and of course, dessert.
Paneer Lasagne ($12.50) showcases the chef’s creativity, bridging Italian staples (and Canadian favourites) with Indian spices. A vegetarian dish, this layered lasagne is stuffed with eggplant and peas and crowned with a papadum crisp.
Also of note for vegetarians, Colaba’s take on the veggie burger, here dubbed Vada Pau ($8.50) features two chubby patties on fluffy buns, with crisps on the side.
Colaba’s take on fondue (Saleem’s Keema Pau Fondue $9.50) brings a rich portion of Kaffir scented lime butter pau with toasted white bread for dipping. Simple and satisfying, the dish pairs well with the local beers and wines laid out on their cocktail menu. Non-alcoholic drinks are well represented here with Masala Chai teas, Mango Lassis and Skewanjeen- a bubbly soda with lime and dried prunes.
Inventive and unexpected are part and parcel of the Colaba experience. The food is cheap and cheerful and the space lively and on trend, an updated and inspired eatery boasting flavour profiles that aren’t dumbed down – just what Toronto needed.
Colaba Junction is located at 801 Bay St. and is open Monday to Friday 11am to 10pm and Saturday to Sunday 12pm to 10pm.
Have you been to Colaba Junction yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.