If you ever have a craving for Pakistani/Halal food in Toronto, this place ought to satisfy your hunger for all things spicy and saucy. Lahore Tikka House is a culinary gem tucked in the heart of Little India that was kindly recommended to me by a friend.
I arrived here with a party of five for a dinner before our Saturday UFC night ritual. Inside are long communal tables that are reminiscent of family feasts on the weekends. We were seated at a table near the entrance, where you could feel the draft come in every time someone opened the front door. The plastic cutlery and paper plates may be shunned upon by environmental activists, but they add a touch to the informal picnic-esque atmosphere.
The menu features appetizers, sizzling plates, biryani, vegetarian dishes, naan and more. We ordered our dishes on a moderate 'medium' spice level, and they turned out rightfully so.
First came the beef biryani, one of my favourites on the menu. Biryani is like an Indian and Middle Eastern rendition of fried rice. It is made with chicken, seafood or meat , and flavoured with what seems like half the contents of a spice cabinet. It was possibly the finest basmati rice I've had in this city thus far.
The Lahori beef kabob is served on a bed of rice on a sizzling hot plate (rice is subject to extra fees). The texture was slightly dry as if the juices in the beef had quickly evaporated as soon as it arrived at our table.
The lamb (also known as mutton) is tender to the bone in the karahi gosht, submerged in a pool of fragrant spices and herbs, and topped with ginger and coriander leaves. This was my second favourite, and I was ready to challenge anyone to a game of rock-paper-scissors for the last piece of lamb.
After trying the butter, sesame and garlic naans, the group ruled out the garlic naan as a winner. The naan is made in-house and straight out of the Tandoor, a clay or metal wood-firing oven that originated from Pakistan and northern India. One freshly baked garlic naan is enough to make my day. You can easily order 1-2 per person.
The butter chicken is smooth, rich and creamy, and ruled another favourite on the menu. You get boneless chunks of chicken simmering in a stew glistened with enough oil to grease five cast iron pans.
The palak paneer has soft paneer cheese cubes cooked in a thick spinach curry sauce. It is bold and full of flavour, and certainly does not disappoint. As a popular Indian dish, it paid homage to my love for Indian food.
A few rounds of meat sweats and what seemed like six cups of water later, I was satisfied and walked out of the restaurant with a heavily scented trail of spice on my clothes. It's worth a load of laundry and worth an incredible workout just to save yourself the guilt of having a cheat meal. I would mark this off as my destination for biryani and garlic naan. Oh sweet naan.