33 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Way back before we knew how good Spadina Garden really was, we dismissed it and the buffet at Indian Flavour because all we really wanted was some tandoori chicken and naan. Really. That’s all. So, when we arrived at Jodhpore Club at Baldwin Street – because Jodhpore had been a tried, tested and true choice (note I use past tense in this context) – we thought we couldn’t possibly be let down.
Jodhpore, in the middle of Baldwin Street, is one amongst an eclectic mix of restaurants nestled within a residential area – away from the hustle and bustle of University and Dundas, nearby. The last time we’d been was in the summer of ’06 and we sat outside, and I remember the food being delicious.
On this particular evening, it wasn’t busy…perhaps it was the rain, or not…
As I type this, I wonder why we didn’t end up simply ordering tandoori chicken and naan. That was really all we wanted, right? Instead, we asked our waitress what SHE recommended. Well, she recommended the ‘special’. Which was a tava (pan) sabzi (vegetable). So I asked whether it included ALL the vegetables, especially okra and eggplant, and was assured that it did, indeed. Very well. We then took two more steps back and ordered the Hyderbad ‘roadside’ spicy chicken curry and whole-wheat rotis stuffed with peas. When our dishes arrived, we both thought we’d ordered the wrong dish. What we had on our table was a very rationed portion of “vegetables” which was really only cauliflower, onions and maybe some green peppers.
Hmm. We plopped a spoonful onto a plate, and then further dug around the serving dish looking for the so-called okra and eggplant. Not only was there no eggplant, there was no okra. What we found was a tiny slice of something I can only call “oak”, the “ra” must have still been on the tava, ready to be served to someone else who was stupid enough to ask what the “special” was.
We beckoned to our server and asked her what our dish was to which she replied, “tava subzi”. That’s when I pointed out the lack of ‘subzi’. I showed her the okra and said we wanted something with more than one piece of okra and not this. Her response was very clear. She asked us to return the spooned out subzi from our plate BACK into the serving dish and whisked the dish away. Aghast, we both turned to the chicken.
The measly portion and poor cuts of bone-in chicken definitely deserved the name ‘roadside’ Hyderbad chicken! It was overly spicy, the chilli so hot, it overpowered the palate.
And don’t get me started on the roti.
Burnt, dry and stuffed with frozen peas.
Sometimes it’s better not to stray away from what your stomach really wants.