Sunday, September 21, 2008

41. Sudan: The Empire

The Empire
1018 Bloor Street West
(east of Dufferin)
416 532 5511

It's counter service at this busy eatery which does a lot of take-out business. The cook greeted regulars warmly and quickly dished up requests for their "usual" orders .
Much of the menu is mixed plates where you choose items from the steam table. The Veggie Plate [picture above] includes salad with pickled turnip & cabbage, two hot vegetable dishes ( I picked okra and white kidney beans) roasted eggplant, falafel balls and your choice of rice (lentil or raisin) with a whole wheat pita. It makes a very filling lunch for $6.49. The lamb shank plate came with similar choices of sides. Amused by the plastic knife she was given my friend asked, "How will I cut the lamb?". The cook jokingly suggested she borrow his Donair carving knife. Then another customer quips, " The lamb is so tender it will just fall off the bone, you won't need a sharper knife". He was right. The eggplant sandwich was generous and tasty, if a little on the oily side, a bargain at $2.99.
It is a halal restaurant, so there's no liquor license. Beverages consist of self serve tea, $1.50 and the usual canned and bottled soft drinks, juices and water.
The wood panelling is quite distinctive and there's an illuminated copy of the Koran in a glass case with prayer lists taped to the outside. Nearby, a wide screen TV airs a European soccer match.
Rating: Ambiance (2)
Service (2)
Food Presentation (2)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (4)

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