Saturday, June 14, 2008

35. Tanzania: Simba Grill

Simba Grill
375 Donlands Avenue
(at O'Connor Drive)
416 429 5067

Don't let the sign fool you, this place not does not serve typical Indian cuisine. The Simba Grill is Toronto's only Tanzanian restaurant. Its decor may not be polished but, from the murals to the carved wooden boxes on the tables, it certainly conjures up images of Africa.
Our host, owner Sultan Jessani, was gracious and hospitable. He showed us clippings of restaurant reviews and helped with menu selection.
A pitcher of water and condiments are quickly brought to the table. There are four chutneys, in order from mildest to hottest: tamarind, coconut, green chili with cilantro, and red chili. For a starter, we share the Mogo (Cassava) which is cut and cooked french fry style but has a taste and texture of its own [pictured below], $ 3.75. My friend, who was born and raised in the Congo, opts for the Ugali with bean and coconut curry, $13.50. When her meal arrives, at first she's disappointed that the Ugali is made with cornmeal and not cassava but after tasting it she prefers the East African cornmeal version. She finds the portion generous and so takes some of it home. My Fish Thari arrives on a compartmented tray: seasoned potatoes, daal, basmati rice, whole wheat roti, kingfish steak (cooked to perfection) and pickles, $ 14.00. Again it's a generous portion. Total for two dinners $41 including tax and tip.
We are tempted by our host's description of his Tanzanian style ice cream but will have to sample that on our next visit.
The Simba Grill serves 100% Halal food and does not have a liquor license.

Rating: Ambiance (3)
Service (3)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (4)
Value for Money (4)

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