A New Take on Halal South Asian Food at Spice Shack
The family and I have decided to head out to another lazy Sunday lunch in downtown Toronto. A place that I’ve been wanting to try out for a while is Spice Shack.
Located on The Esplenade, a few minutes off of Lakeshore and a perfect pit stop on our way to the Good Food Festival that was happening at The Direct Energy Centre that weekend.
I’ve had Spice Shack on my must try list for a while now because of a few very key things; one being their chef. He’s not aunty from across the road (no offence to aunties that work in South Asian restaurants). He’s Chef Lionel John, born in Pakistan, but raised for many years in Toronto and is apart of a new and upcoming generation of professionally trained chefs that are emerging onto the Toronto halal food scene.
Chef Lionel specializes in Italian cuisine, but his love for home cooked food that his mother lovingly made while he was growing up is what he is serving at Spice Shack. With his own touch of course.
If you know me, you’ll know that one of my biggest turn off at any restaurant is a pool of grease/oil. South Asian restaurants are famous for it and one of the reasons why I haven’t found a place that I can say I love.
I’ve been to so many where my attempts at skimming off the oil leads to a nearly 50% reduction in the bowl – a bit of drama, yes, but there is some truth as well. Even if the food is tasty, it just doesn’t sit well.
So here, at Spice Shack where focus is on health and freshness, I’m really happy that I can report the food is comforting, perfect spice level for me with complex tastes that vary dish to dish and no pools of oil.
Best things off the menu – definitely have their fried masala fish and fries ($7.99). Also try their tender beef kebab ($6.99) served with rice or naan, malai chicken ($7.99) (a.k.a. butter chicken) and samosa (3 veg or 2 meat for $1.50).
Also noted is their plating. My kebab remained succulent and moist even though it was the last thing I ate because it was covered in a layer of fresh cucumber and tomato salad then dredged with chutney. Practical and beautiful!
The downside here is that it is mainly a take out and catering joint. I would LOVE for Spice Shack to be a full service restaurant with large dining space with decor and ambiance well suited for a night out with the family.
I would absolutely make this my South Asian go-to. I hope that is where there direction is in the future!
Meat Supplier as of April 23, 2013: Iqbal Halal Foods
222 The Esplanade, Toronto
(647) 748 0786