Thali MontrealPosted By Jennifer Ho Jun 10 2013 · 0 comments · Dining Out, Downtown
Before we even sat down, I had my doubts. The restaurants was hot and didn’t seem particularly clean. The food sitting behind the counter didn’t look freshly cooked, nor did it look hot. The server at the front had trouble explaining the dishes to me when asked – never a good sign.
Let’s be real. In a lot of smaller ethnic restaurants, there’s a scale of dirty-clean (acceptable) to dirty-dirty (unpleasant, unacceptable) that many fall under. Let me explain: first you have dirty-clean where you know the food is going to be good. While the digs may be a little shabby and worn down, you know that the chefs behind the counter aren’t cutting corners and legitimately trying to make quality food for you. Then you have dirty-dirty where the place itself is messy and not well cared for. The food is made well in advance of serving time for convenience and the end result is never what you expect for the price that you pay. To me, Thali fell within the second category. There was no question about it. The rain outside wasn’t helping either – customers (myself included) tracked wet debris inside, making the floor slippery and dirt streaked. Trust me, I’m from an immigrant family, I’ve been to my fair share of dirty-clean and dirty-dirty restaurants and the state of this one was pretty deplorable.
We stepped up to the counter to make our order. Onion bhaji and samosas to share. These were quickly plucked from the trays behind the windows, placed on metal plates and given to us immediately. We then made our choices for our thali platters – we both opted for the meat options. After choosing from a couple of bowls at the counter, we sat down and dug into the entrees. Both the bhaji and the samosas were cold. Not even slightly warm. The bhaji you expect to be crispy and piping hot. It is a fried dish, after all. They were soggy and cold instead. The samosas fared slightly better, but not by much. The contents were a bit too dry and hardly packed any flavour. The sauce helped fix the problem a little bit but that’s no way to serve up a dish like this…
Both thali platters came with three options, sides of rice, papadum and a piece of naan. The hottest thing on the plate was the naan. Probably the best thing too. It was warm, soft and buttery, like it should be. The papadum was stale and soft. Again, a little soggy. The butter chicken had a great sauce and nice, tender chicken but again had problems in the temperature department. The spinach paneer was a watery mixture that seemed to be missing the cheese component. I don’t think I got a single cube of cheese in my dish – neither did my friend. Weird… The onion curry was just a touch spicy – I got a single ball of onion mix, could have done with a bit more. The lamb curry was equally as unexciting.
Overall, as you can probably tell, we didn’t enjoy our experience at Thali. Even for the wallet-friendly prices, it isn’t worth your time or your money. Too bad.
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