Kissan (changed Feb 07 to Sidartha Pure Vegetarian Cuisine)
1411 Gerrard Street East
Wendy and I heard about a new vegetarian Indian restaurant called Kissan that opened about one month ago on Gerrard street (aka Little India). We thought it was time to check it out. As i no longer live on the Danforth, i am somewhat out of touch with life in the east end so I try to go back to the Danforth or Little India to see what is going on. You will notice that on Gerrard, there is a definite revitalization going on there so it’s best to buy a house or townhouse there ASAP as prices will go up as the place will “trendify” and become shi shi poo poo like the Beaches, then we’re all screwed over since house prices will go super high ($500,000) for a tiny 2000 sq. foot house. The arrogant city of Toronto has some nerve to make house prices so unaffordable that only the rich or a dual income family can purchase it.
Now back to my review. Kissan is a very pleasant, clean, and non kitschy, non-dated restaurant that serves North Indian vegetarian cuisine in a pleasant non-kitchy ambiance. Set in one small dining area with about 10 tables, we were thoroughly impressed by the constantly refreshed buffet table (at the back), glistening with freshness and not glazed with grease like many Indian buffets (think Dhaba on King and John or any other Indian restaurant on Gerrard street). Maybe it’s because Kissan is new and they are still “young” and “fresh with ideas” and maybe it will all go downhill in the next few months, but we thought we’d give our impressions on this place one month after its opening.
Kissan’s small but high quality buffet included favourite veggie delights like curried cabbage, vegetable curry, chana masala, aloo gobi with fresh chunks of cauliflower, not a mashed up mess mostly comprised of potato. We saw mostly cauliflower and that is a good indication of a good aloo gobi when there is a visible gobi (cauliflower) and there are nice potato wedges. It means there was time and thought involved. Most aloo gobis are mashed up messes and are served in clumps, trust me. I’ve had my share of Toronto’s aloo gobi’s. Another excellent feature is an eggplant curry (Bengan) that was simply delicious. Kissan also served a nice daal (lentil curry) as well as a yummy curried yogourt stew with dumplings. It was a yellow colour and mild in flavour and the dumplings tasted like wet pakoras. The pakoras’ were typical balls of onion and mashed up vegetables wrapped up in a chick pea flour batter. Wendy and I both brought the coriander and tamarind dipping sauce for them and they were excellent. I had to admit that I usually have no faith in Indian buffets but we were pleasantly surprised. The saag paneer was also good but had too much spinach and I had trouble finding the cubes of cheese. Naan was kept away from the buffet table to avoid become soggy and cold so we were impressed when our server told us that he had fresh naan waiting for us.
Both Wendy and I agree that our Mango Lassis were thick, flavourful, not too sweet, and not watery like most Mango Lassis. We both agreed that our Mango Lassi was the best we’ve ever had in Toronto. It tasted so fresh and not pre-made. It was incredibly thick. We asked the secret, and he said thick homemade yogourt, filtered to get rid of excess water, and mango pulp (rock on!). We loved it. For $8.99 for lunch buffet and $10.99 for the dinner buffet, we had no complaints about our experience at all except the yucky phony tasting mango ice cream (I had the vanilla ice cream instead). Wendy also enjoyed a carrot pudding made with delicately cooked carrot slices in a thick sweet milky pudding. It tasted just like rice pudding but with thinly cut carrot slices instead. Kissan also serves a cool milk beverage with fresh cold milk, vermicelli noodles, rosewater and cumin and other spices that gives it a sweet and fragrant dessert. The rice pudding they serve also sounds delicious with fennel (or anise) and cardamom, a delicious spice often used in Indian tea (chai masala). In sum, we were pleasantly stuffed and felt that we really ate very well in terms of quality, flavour, freshness, and service was extra friendly and the server was very knowledgable and pleasant, which is always nice. Open 11:30am-10:30pm 7 days per week. Accepts all cards.