Recently, I've been bombarded with recommendations and viral TikTok videos about a new Indian restaurant in downtown Toronto. With rave reviews and enticing dishes, I decided to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Going to be making several repeat trips for thay biryani 🇮🇳🍛 #torontoeats #torontofoodie #indianfood #biryani #tofood #6ixeats #tofoodie
I recently visited The Cottage Cheese with my partner, and we luckily scored a spot without a reservation.
Here's what we thought:
Interiors of The Cottage Cheese.
As I walked into The Cottage Cheese, warmth washed over me - the restaurant's charming aesthetic immediately struck me.
The space was airy and open, with white walls and vibrant pops of colour. Despite being relatively small and likely unable to fit more than twenty people, the vast windows overlooking Kensington made the restaurant feel spacious and not at all cramped.
The windows also somehow made the restaurant feel more alive and part of the bustling community.
Twinkling lights adorned the ceiling, adding a playful touch that somehow managed to avoid feeling cliched. Soft lighting and subtle music rounded out the inviting atmosphere.
It was the ideal setting for a cozy night out with friends or a romantic date.
The service at The Cottage Cheese was exceptional. Our waitress was knowledgeable about the menu and was able to recommend dishes based on our preferences.
The food was served promptly, and the staff made sure we had everything we needed throughout our meal.
The staff was by after every dish was cleared to ask us how it was, and our water glasses were never empty for more than a few minutes.
Biryani and Chicken Chettinad. Right: Mango Mule drink.
The food at The Cottage Cheese was decent, but I have to admit that it was slightly over-hyped.
The biggest wins for me were the Chicken 65 appetizer and my Mango Mule drink, which is a non-alcoholic twist on the classic Moscow Mule.
The crispy chicken snack had a finger-licking sauce that was absolutely delicious, and the chicken itself was perfectly tender and crispy. The sauce had a unique blend of spices that I couldn't quite place, but I definitely wanted more.
The Mango Mule mocktail was super refreshing, and the combination of mango puree, simple syrup, soda, cucumber, and lime made for a delicious and unique flavour. It brought back memories of the mango juice I used to drink as a kid in India.
For our mains, we ordered the Chicken Biryani and the Chicken Chettinad, a classic curry from South India. The presentation of the biryani in a bread bowl was super cool to watch, and it was definitely one of the most authentic presentations of biryani I've seen outside India. While it was flavourful, it wasn't generous with its meat. The rice was perfectly cooked, but I would have preferred more chicken.
The Chicken Chettinad tasted a lot like a spicier version of Butter Chicken. My partner, who is from South India, told me that the curry's consistency wasn't supposed to be that creamy, and the authentic version was a lot lighter.
While both dishes were good, I've definitely had better in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The biggest surprise of my experience at The Cottage Cheese was the cost.
After ordering two drinks, two appetizers, and two mains, the total bill came up to $104, or $52 per person after tax and before tips.
While the food and ambiance were decent, I felt that the price was steep for what we got. In this economy, I wouldn't be able to afford to visit this restaurant more than a couple of times a year.
The cost definitely affected my overall impression of the place, but if you're looking for a special night out and don't mind spending a bit more, The Cottage Cheese is worth checking out for its unique ambiance and tasty dishes.