(FKO reports to continue in a future Blathering...)
(Updated: Woohoo! My sister's newest book, A Trip With Grandma, got a great review in today's Globe & Mail! You can see the review on the Globe & Mail's Web site, but apparently the paper version also has an image from the book as well. Flatmouse is going to be famous!)
My friend Craig and I were trying to decide where to eat yesterday; we decided to look for something in the CAD$25 range, and I wanted something unusual. Like me, Craig's an adventurous eater, willing to try almost anything.
We ended up choosing Pomegranate restaurant (420 College St. (at Bathurst), Toronto, ON 416-921-7557, Map) because of this Toronto Life review. I've never tried traditional Persian cuisine, and the unusual-sounding ingredients intrigued me.
Doogh, a tangy yogurt drink.
The restaurant was full when we arrived; the only space available was a small raised alcove in the back that the hostess called a "takht" (a Persian double bed), just big enough for two people along with their dinner; you take off your shoes and sit crossed-legged or lounge against the pillows as you eat.
Craig and I were delighted; we couldn't have asked for a more exotic dinner setting! The hostess said most diners tended to opt for regular tables, so was relieved that we didn't mind. Craig and I both agreed that when we come here again, we'd purposely reserve the takht.
For drinks, Craig ordered the Persian tea, and I opted for doogh, a homemade salty carbonated yogurt drink with mint. You can see a photo of it above. The green is mint and the red is powdered rose petals; it made for an unusual tasting drink which I very much enjoyed. Plus I like the name: doogh. What a cool word. ("Hey, come sit in my takht and share my doogh.")
We ordered an appetizer called maast-o khiar for $3.75 (see above), a blend of English cucumber, walnuts, raisins and rose petals in a rich creamy herbed yogurt. It came with a warm Barbary flatbread.
For our main courses, we ordered queymeh and fesenjaan.
Above: The queymeh was a tomato-based tangy stew of yellow split peas, lamb chunks and dried lime topped with cinnamon. CAD$10.95. The round ball on top was the lime, I think; we ate the whole thing, peel and all. Yum.
Above: fesenjaan -- a smooth rich stew of ground walnut and pomegranate syrup served beside a plate of saffron basmati rice, creamy yogurt and salad. We ordered the chicken version instead of the vegetarian version. CAD$13.95.
EVERYTHING was very good, and I would definitely come back here. There are so many things I still want to try! Like the kashk-e bademjaan appetizer, which is charred eggplant, persian whey, garlic and walnuts topped with crispy onion. And a main course called aloo gheysi, which consists of bokhara plums and dried apricots in a saffron sauce with boneless chicken pieces served with creamy yogurt. And morasa polo: jewelled rice - slivers of seville orange peel, almond and pistachio with diced carrots and barberries blended in saffron basmati rice served with a braised lamb shank, creamy yogurt and salad.
Above: For dessert, we opted for a dessert tray which included honey-soaked, deep-fried pastry and chickpea cookies. The pastry was a yummy sticky-sweet concoction topped with slivered almonds and something else I can't recall. I wasn't so crazy about the cookies, which seemed relatively tasteless (at least in comparison to everything else). Next time I think I'd like to try the saffron-rosewater ice cream.
After an appetizer, doogh drink, two Persian teas, two main courses and a dessert, the total bill came out to less than $45 for two people. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for good food in an unusual setting. Reservations highly recommended, and be sure to ask for the takht in the back!
Pomegranate Chai House
420 College St. (at Bathurst)
Toronto, ON Canada