342 Church St. E.
Last week both of my parents celebrated their birthdays. I’ve always been amused by the fact that their birthdays fall on consecutive days, but they are born on different years. For my mom’s birthday we decided to have dinner at The Keg (she loves a good steak), but we weren’t sure where to go for my dad’s birthday. He loves to eat, but he has stomach problems that often prevent him from enjoying his meal. I had been wanting to try Coriander Green for a couple months now, and thought it might be a good option – but my dad was worried that the spicy foods would make him feel sick. I reached out to the executive chef/owner of Coriander Green, Chef Harminder, to discuss my dilemma. He quickly offered to serve us “make mild and flavourful food”, which sounded good so we made our reservation.
When we arrived at the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was that they actually have a decent coat rack. It’s a small thing, but I appreciate not having to try to balance my heavy winter coat on the back of my chair. The restaurant is nicely decorated and clean, but a bit dim for my liking. I must be the only person who doesn’t care for dark restaurants. Well, me and this guy.
Once we sat down Chef Harminder came over to say hello, which was very nice of him. We were given our menus and a basket of papadums to snack on while we made up our minds. I didn’t eat the papadums because I wanted to wash my hands first. To my dismay when I came back from the washroom the server had just whisked away the not-yet-empty basket. Darn.
The first dish that I actually ate was the Samosa Chana. I’ve never seen samosas served with curried chickpeas before, but my dad says he often buys this for lunch at work. These samosas were wonderful! They had a golden crispy shell, were absolutely stuffed to the brim with a flavourful potato and green pea filling, and weren’t the slightest bit greasy. The only warning I would give with this dish is that just one of these samosas is very filling, so if you’re wanting to try multiple dishes during dinner you might not want to start with this.
We also ordered the Coriander Green Special Grill at the recommendation of Chef Harminder. This dish comes with tandoori chicken, kababs and chicken tikka served on a bed of onions and peppers. I love the drama of this dish. There’s nothing quite as exciting as hearing your order sizzle as your server brings it to your table. Everything on this plate was good, but my entire family thought that the kebabs were outstanding.
I also want to mention that this restaurant totally nails their sauces. We had a little dish with three dipping sauces and they were all delicious. I think one was a hot chilli sauce, one was a cilantro/mint/yogurt sauce and one might have been a tamarind sauce.
By the time we got through our appetizers I was already feeling full, which is strange for me! I can usually eat twice as much food as my dad (is that weird?) but I just couldn’t do it last week. I nibbled on our main courses, and then enjoyed the leftovers the next day.
We ordered several dishes because it was our first visit and we wanted to figure out which ones we’d order again. We selected two kinds of rice: Jira rice (basmati rice with cumin seeds) and Chicken Biryani (basmati rice with chicken, spices and yogurt). They were both good, but I preferred the Jira rice because it allowed the flavours of the other dishes to shine through instead of competing with them.
We also ordered Butter Chicken (chicken cooked in a tomato-cream sauce), Fish Masala (fish cooked in a sauce with onions, peppers, tomatoes, ginger and garlic) and the Coriander Green Special Shrimp (shrimp cooked with fresh coriander, mint, onions and cashew sauce). You can see all three of these dishes in the first photograph on this post.
I could really taste the tomato in the butter chicken sauce, and it wasn’t too sweet. The fish masala dish was ok, I liked the sauce but didn’t care for the flavour of the fish itself. My favourite dish was the special shrimp curry. It was very different from any other curry I’ve ever had before, but I’m having trouble thinking of why it was so different. Maybe it was the cashew sauce? I don’t think I’ve had cashews in a curry sauce before. Anyhow, I want to order that again the next time I visit.
And now for the absolute-best-item from our dinner that night. The Garlic Naan. This naan is freshly baked and then coated with a spiced garlic mixture, and it tastes like garlic bread.
Have I told you that I’m obsessed with garlic bread? It’s one of those foods that I could happily eat every day, I love it that much. And because of that love, I always order garlic naan when I see it on a menu. I figure it’s my closest option at Indian restaurants.
I’ve had decent garlic naan before, but I’ve never had naan like this. You won’t find heavy, hard or bland naan at Coriander Green. The naan here is light and soft, and the garlic naan is buttery, garlicky and addictive. Honestly, I could eat an entire order of this naan by myself (but that would be greedy).
Ultimately, I was happy with the food we ate at Coriander Green. Everything tasted fresh, flavourful and somewhat lighter than food I’ve had at other Indian restaurants. I was also very happy that the kitchen staff was able to reduce the spiciness of these dishes so my dad was able to enjoy his meal.
I really wanted to try their gulabjamun, so we ordered some to go. Later that night, when my stomach finally had room for more food, I opened the takeout container. Now, if you have every ordered gulabjamun from an Indian sweet shop, you should be able to tell why I was somewhat shocked by what I saw.
These are so tiny!!!
They’ve got to be about half the size of the ones I usually buy from Matheson Sweets. Everything else we ordered from the menu was intended to be shared, so I guess I didn’t think that this would be one serving. I figured there are four of us in my home so two orders would mean one for each of us, and that’s usually enough. I’m glad we didn’t buy four orders of this though, because at $6 each that would just be too expensive.
Tiny dessert portions aside, we had a pleasant meal and I would recommend that you check out this restaurant if you enjoy Indian cuisine.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I paid for this meal. All opinions are my own.