Lee Restaurant [Melanie]

 603 King St. W.
Phone: (416) 504-7867

I decided to go to Lee this Saturday essentially because I really couldn’t afford to go to Susur but was really intrigued to try out Susur Lee’s eclectic style fusion cuisine. Susur Lee is a celebrated chef based in Toronto and owns Susur, and Lee, located side-by-side at 601 and 603 King St. West. Susur opened its doors in 2000, and has been on various international Top 50 lists, including Restaurant’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.

Going into Lee I was overwhelmed by the amazing decor – very stylish, very chic. Even though we didn’t have any reservations we were quickly seated at the bar. This ended up being a great spot for an entire evening out. It is a very busy restaurant and by 8pm there as an actual line outside. The staff are exceedingly friendly and warm. The background music fits with the decor- it was mainly house, dance and electronic. The evening is more casual, the menu full of small, fascinating dishes.

The wine list was fairly extensive. They are also part of the BYOW program so for a $30 corkage, you can just about bring whatever you like. I ordered 2 glasses of the Chilean house wine. It was an excellent choice.

Their “signature dish” is a Singapore salad. It serves two and it is just amazing. I was told it had like over 10 ingredients’ in it including wild flowers. The servings are fairly small “appetizer-sized”. So it is normally recommended that everyone order about 2 to 3 dishes each. The waitress usually recommends what to order and which dishes are larger than others.

The dishes also arrive in random order. The intention is clearly to create an atmosphere where a group is really sharing a meal together and discussing the food. It works very well and makes for an interesting and unique dining experience. I ordered way more than I really needed too. Some of the things I ordered included the Coconut with lime, chilli and shrimp soup which was more sour tasting; Four satay (chicken, shrimp, pork and beef) with mint chutney, peanut and tamarind sauce; boneless chicken wings. My favourite was definitely the Singapore salad. Each dish is typically between $10-17. Reservations are a must if you want something around the dinner hour. It was emptying out by 9:30pm (on Saturday) so you might be able to just walk-in if you go after the dinner hours.

The bathroom is small with only two stalls and not the cleanest. They were certainly not the nicest. However I was there for the food and I was truly impressed. Would I go back? Most definitely, in fact I consider it one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto. This is a chic, trendy, elegant restaurant where you can spend a hip Friday/Saturday evening with friends.

-Melanie Browne

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Kama

214 King Street West
416-599-KAMA (5262)

This restaurant is located directly across the street from the Roy Thomson Hall, making it a convenient option for those going to the theatre (there are many in the ‘hood). It’s a couple of steps down from the street, and is a huge place! It is very bright and airy, and very terracotta in colour. This place definitely looks different than any restaurant you might find in little India – very designer-y. Naturally, the prices are in line with the décor and location.

Though sit down meals are an option, we selected the all-you-can eat buffet option at $16.95 each. Had we had chosen this option to take out, the price is much cheaper. Lunchtime prices are also much lower.

The food we ate was generally quite good, there was a decent variety of dishes, vegetarian, chicken, beef and seafood. Among my favourite items were the different traditional breads, some with garlic, some with mint, etc. salads, tandoori chicken & vegetable curry. Least favourite: dessert. Apparently I made a funny face when I took a bite. Oh well, can’t be perfect.

The service was very speedy and attentive. The staff are very sensitive to those with time constraints and are ready with the bill when you are.

I enjoyed my meal there, but probably will not make a habit of going there based on the price. The price was a little higher than I think an Indian buffet should be. However, if I have an insatiable craving for the food & I happen to be in the area, I would not hesitate to drop in.

Kama

214 King Street west
416-599-KAMA

Kama (as in Kama Sutra), meaning the god of erotic love is the name of the last place I went to dine with Wendy the night of Evita. Located in the trendy and pricy Entertainment District (King west between University and Spadina) this place is kind of hidden as it is downstairs. Located right across from Roy Thomson Hall, we liked the fact that they served a dinner buffet because we were not prepared to pay over $20 each for our meal. Kama’s decor is very Mediterranean with a terra cotta colour and does not look very Indian but very designer-ish. With a minimalist shi-shi-poo-poo motif, this place is the epitome in high brow Indian cuisine.

Although located in the basement of a building, the dug out full length windows make the place very bright. The restaurant itself is very large as it looks as though it can sit over 100 people. Divided into three main dining areas separated by columns, we could not find the buffet table at first as it was hidden way in back of the restaurant. The dinner buffet was kind of pricy ($16.95) and there were many vegetarian options. As always, i enjoyed the deliciously spicy vegetable pekoras (although vegetarian, the takeout menu called them chicken pekora, quite a fatal error). In addition, i enjoyed the vegetable curry, Channa masala (chick pea curry), Aloo Chat (potato curry in a sweet and sour curry with vegetables and crunchy chippy things, Saag Paneer (spinach and cheese), garlic naan and mint naan. The garlic naan was incredible with a hint of garlic and not too strong. Wendy had the mint naan and she seemed to enjoy it.

For dessert Wendy had the doughnut balls with a lot of syrup or honey and she made the funniest face when she tasted the balls and they were not what she expected. I think she expected soft and full of honey, but instead they were dry with very little syrup. We both thoroughly enjoyed the luxurious rice pudding with pistachios. We really appreciated the taste and the bold flavours of nutmeg, ginger, and anise. YUMMA! The actual meal was so-so but the dessert rocked. I must admit that $16.95 is a nervy price to charge for dinner buffet but we were in the theatre district where naive tourists would pay anything. We were pleased that, unlike Little India, they kept on refreshing all of the food so everything was hot and fresh. Still, the food was very so-so…nothing to run home about. I would probably not go again, or at least, i would order from the separate dinner menu because most of the time those items are more fresh and are of higher quality. Accepts all cards. Open late. No reservations required. Takeout lunch and dinner buffet significantly cheaper. Separate lunch and dinner menu available.