Indian food – incredible spices, great smells, can be healthy and quite unique. Biryani House (6 Roy’s Square – nothing more than a right angle alley that connects Bloor & Yonge streets in downtown Toronto. 416 944-1644) serves very good northern Indian cuisine without pretension and in a quaint (ok hole in the wall) environment. That makes it my kind of place. Here are two pictures from the outside:
Here is the alley you walk down to get to it (Biryani House on the left):
I’ve been there 3 times now (all for dinner, though they also serve lunch) and it can’t be beat. Ramki and I tried it thanks to our concierge at the Marriott on Bloor St. I asked him for the best tasting hole in the wall Indian Restaurant and this is where he sent us. The next night he received a good tip J and sent us to another great place – but that is for another post. Ramki, please tell us your thoughts on Biryani House.
The name, Biryani, comes from an Indian rice dish. I actually ordered that tonight. The vegetable Biryani is, as the menu says, ‘Delicate spiced basmati rice cooked with vegetables, cottage cheese, and saffron and garnished with dry fruit and nuts’. It was very filling and quite delicious. Ramki and I also had some on our first visit. Last night I tried the Chicken Do Piazz, also very good and a bit more spicy. Both nights I tried a different soup, Dhal soup and Mulligia Tawny Soup. Both quite good and very different from each other. The Dhal is a lighter tasting and less spicy soup than the Mulligia. The naan that they serve is great – you can get a butter Naan, garlic Naan or plain (there may be other options I can’t remember). Check it out.
Biryani House only has 11 tables, 9 are for 2 people and only 2 are for 4. It definitely qualifies for the 5 hole rating (hole in the wall). Every time I have been there well over half of the tables are busy, many with regulars. When I asked my waiter what was good, he said ‘everything. If it is good, then we put it on the menu’. I love that bit of attitude. I heard him say the same thing tonight to someone who walked in off the street to get a bite to go. Tonight when I spoke with him a little longer he said that they completely change the menu regularly. Their regulars have had a chance to try everything on the menu so then they come up with a new menu to give them variety.
The story behind the place was hard to fully discern. Here is a picture of the owner Sukha cooking away
Sukha, his brother and wife all have been involved in the restaurant business for quite some time. They own another restaurant at 1437 Gerrard St. as well. They have been serving Indian food since 1991. I had previously tried to speak with him, but because of how busy they always seem to be I settled for the information I could get from the waiter. Based on the straightforward story it will only receive a 1 page story rating. I wouldn’t be surprise if there is more here than I was able to get.
Next time you are in Toronto and wanting some great tasting Indian food, check it out Biryani House, my kind of place.
P.S. Did some surfing on the net and found www.biryanihouse.com/ This is definitely not the place I am talking about, however, it is possible that Debu Saha’s brother now runs the one on 6 Roy’s Square. Someone comment with more information if you have it.