Banjara Indian Cuisine

Location: 164 Eglinton Ave. E. Toronto, ON, M4P 1G4
Region of Food: North and South India
Fun fact! Banjara alludes to Banjara Hills located in Northern India, particularly in Hyderabad. The thriving commercial centre is home to thousands of Telegu speaking people. Although the waitress did not mention Banjara when I had asked about the name of the establishment. I cannot say, for sure, why they named the restaurant after a Telegu speaking region and boast of dishes from both north and south India. However, I find that the name conjures up exoticism and stating that the dishes come from various regions attracts a wider clientele. Clever.
The decor, much like the name, evokes an oriental-themed atmosphere; curtains of blue, pink and purple are draped on the high windows. There is a mural of hills with a river falling down (perhaps this is alluding to the Banjara Hills). Although there are several other murals as well, like one of a peacock.
At the far end of the restaurant stands the self-serve food stand with platters of biryani, gobi and of course butter chicken. I treated myself namely to the chicken biryani for the purpose of this website. I was quite happy with my choice regardless of the reasoning behind it, the rice was also soft and supple like that of Lahore Tikka’s but the chicken was mixed in like that of Pak Centre’s. I find that the food was also quite spicy, although adding sour chutney may have contributed to the strongly spicy taste. It was not stale as expected because buffet food tends to get stale! More significantly, the waitress reassured me that the spices used were not from commercially packed bags and that rather they used their own combination of spices. My only suspicion to that answer was that if cooking large amounts of biryani it would only make sense and be the most efficient to use ready made spice combinations. Although I am not one to openly question the chef or waitress for that matter!


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