What’s on the menu at Adrak, Yorkville’s stylish new Indian restaurant

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Name: Adrach
Contact: 138 Avenue Road, adrakyorkville.ca, @adrakyorkville
Piece: Yorkville
Owner: Ambica Jain
Cooks: Narendra Singh, Abhijeet Singh, Dharampal Singh, Praveen Kumar, Satpal Singh
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

The food

Adrak’s Indian culinary styles cover a lot of ground, reflecting not only the regional diversity of the sprawling country, but also the pre-colonial and colonial periods. The concept is underpinned by an unconventional kitchen structure: there is no head chef. Instead, a handful of them, each specializing in a particular area or style of cooking, run their respective sections. There is, however, a common mentor: most of the team members were trained by star chef Vineet Bhatia.

Owner Ambica Jain

The unorthodox kitchen – which has a sister location in Richmond Hill – deploys exclusively house-blended spices in its sumptuous creations, such as a bhatti masala loaded with chili, fenugreek and cilantro over a juicy, seared whole lobster. Much of the cooking and baking is done in clay tandoor ovens, which quickly cook everything from marinated sesame shrimp and tandoori chicken to chili and garlic naan.

The naan flecked with garlic, cilantro and red chili peppers gets the tandoor treatment. $6.
For the sabz katalet, a rotating selection of seasonal vegetables (beans, carrots, green peas, corn) are spiced with cumin, ginger and green chili, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Crunchy and satisfying, the cutlets are served open on toasted bread on a bed of mixed greens and edible petals. $18.
This knockout of a dish, paneer makhani, is built next to the table. Steamed Fenugreek Butter Tomato Sauce – think butter chicken sauce, but much less sweet than your standard variety – is poured over toasted paneer, raisins and dates. Finding small bits of dried fruit, plumped up with the aromatic sauce, is a rewarding treasure hunt. $28.
Slow-cooked Kashmiri-style lamb shank, spiced with fennel, ginger and chilli, is served in a hot tomato-onion sauce sprinkled with morels and small pools of truffle oil. It is a relatively mild but deeply flavorful and lush dish. $50.
Seared bhatti lobster sings with a blend of cilantro, fenugreek, chilli and cumin. It is served with rich and spicy malai yogurt and cream sauce, grated radishes and green vegetables. A heady blend of spices manages to sublimate the delicate crustacean without overpowering it. $65.
Here we have the non vegetarian thali. There are two types of chicken here: kadipatta (spicy with curry leaves and green chili, and tenderized with a yogurt marinade overnight) and tandoori (also marinated in yogurt and spiced with Kashmiri chili and homemade garam masala). Also, delicious prawns marinated in sesame and lamb seekh, or minced lamb with chilli, coriander and golden onion. Everything is served with a crunchy salad of green apple, pomegranate and mung beans, accompanied by lemon juice and chili onions, a mint chutney and a grilled lime. $75.
The naan is beforehand
And his shot after
Too many chefs in the kitchen can be a good thing
The drinks

An inspired cocktail program draws from a library of homemade infusions and other curiosities: dry vermouth infused with turmeric and curry leaves, chamomile syrup, chopped coconut ice cubes and black sesame brush. (There are also great mocktails for the teetotal crowd.) A tight wine list emphasizes lighter, citrusy wines that complement the cuisine. And there’s a solid selection of spirits too, including a wide range of single malt whisky, tequila and even sake.

Reminiscent of Indian embroideries, particularly ancient saris woven with gold thread, Golden Nineyards draws inspiration from the flavors and aromas of southern India. El Dorado rum infused with elaichi (a small kind of banana), dry vermouth enriched with turmeric and curry leaves, coconut syrup and fresh pineapple is dusted with matcha and pea flower powder blue. It is an aromatic and tropical version of an acid. $21.
Here we have Maharaja’s Howitzer, a hard-hitting, cutting-edge cocktail inspired by the mighty elephants that fired cannons for North West India’s Sikh infantry during their battles with the British Empire. A blend of Balsam Fir Liqueur, Chamomile Syrup and Black Label Whiskey is topped off with Crabbie’s Ginger Cider and garnished with mint, dehydrated lemon and flambé thyme. $21.
Notice the cheeky dragon fruit garnish to see why this juicy mocktail is called the Joker. Fresh mango, lychee, lime juice, and dragon fruit make for a succulent array that’s no second fiddle to its alcoholic counterparts. $9.
Space

The lobby is adorned with jewel-toned wallpaper depicting frolicking animals meant to make you feel like you’re outside an ancient Indian palace. As guests enter, they are greeted by a magnificent sculpture of the Hindu deity Ganesha. The main dining room is opulent and sumptuous with hand carved furniture, mustard yellow upholstery and carved archways. Upstairs, the private dining room stuns with an amber-colored onyx backdrop at both ends and a glossy black marble dining table that seats up to 20 people.

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