Lunching in Little India

If India has 1.5 billion people, Little India is an understatement. Nonetheless, you’re spoiled for lunch choices on this funky strip of Gerrard between Woodbine and Coxwell. Only have an hour? No problem. Under fifteen minutes’ drive from downtown between rush hours there’s lots of easy parking. (Take Dundas, there’s no streetcar east of Broadview.) And cabs abound; it’s where many drivers lunch.

We recommend the buffets, unless you need to be alert for an important mid-afternoon meeting. Full of ghi, the sauces are soporific.

New Haandi 2000 has a $9.95 buffet that includes chicken curry so aggressive you’d swear you were in Manchester after a midnight bender, and daal makhani which is sweeter and more piercing than typical tarka daal. Instead of ubiquitous naan (which, let’s face it, Loblaws has made uncool), they serve deep fried and chewy puri – imagine French toast meets Indian Wonderbread. 1401 Gerrard St. East, (416) 469-9696.

Siddhartha’s $9.99 buffet table dishes up a complex lamb curry that inflames your lips and the roof of your mouth, inducing teary sweat, then begs forgiveness by sweetly massaging the back of your tongue seconds later. Enjoy the busy mustardy veggie curry whether or not you mind harming little animals. The side effects of their chana masala (chickpeas) are worth the risk. 1450 Gerrard St. East.

Hurried? Try the takeout from Toronto’s legendary Bar-Be-Cue Hut. Their $4.95 Seekh Kebab comes with fresh made naan the size of a tablecloth and two sauces you’ll remember fondly all afternoon. And tomorrow morning. 1445 Gerrard St. East, (416) 466-0411.

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