The Little India along Gerrard sounded like a perfect area for an authentic, quick dinner. Karma’s Kitchen is one of the more popular restaurants so our evening plans were sealed.
APPERANCE & NOSE
A crammed sign above the store-front covered in bright red and saturated yellow make us feel like we were entering a Chinese souvenir shop. A visual symbol of the restaurant was also present, but we didn’t get what was it referencing. Perhaps ovaries or medicine related symbol? We climbed a rocking wooden ramp which was bouncy and felt rather unsafe - not the best first impression for a restaurant to set. Rigidity and strength would have helped to reinforce confidence in a brand. We turned to see a small warm area with furs by the window.
Our seats were on a more traditional side with no shoes and low tables to kneel at. We both thought this unique area could have been bigger to make the experience more authentic (like Guu did it ). The rest of the seating space were tall tables with not-too-gleaming white linens and glass table tops – quite generic. Coloured fabric hanging from the ceiling and yellow walls along with Traditional Tibetan chanting and light music projected warmth and a small town feel.
SWIRL & PALATE
Based on our waitress’ recommendation, we got steamed Mokthuk, Aloo Phingsha and House Special Crispy Chicken. Sweet and Spicy Sauce landed on our table first. We both enjoyed the Aloo Phingsha - with fresh and bouncy noodles, tender beef, soft onion, and small black fungus slices, there was a lot to the dish. Unfortunately all the flavours were hard to enjoy, as they were overwhelmed by the spiciness of this dish.
Our Beef Momo, Tibetan dumplings were juicy with a hint of ginger - we picked ours to be stuffed with beef. They came swimming in a hearty, spicy stock, which is what created the Mokthuk dish. It was not as spicy and we thought of it as authentic and quite enjoyable.
Lastly, their House Special Crispy Chicken was recommended. It was yet another very spicy dish, with a tomato base sauce covering the fried chicken bits and plenty of long onion spices. It was so intense that Ma Cherie couldn’t take eating two bites it. Although we tried to separate the green chilli pepper chunks, it did not save our palates from spiciness burn.
We took a side of much needed rice to relieve our senses, throughout, and our waitress kept the water and napkins coming.
We should note that although our feet got cold by the large single exterior facing window, we were sweating from the hot food.
As far as we can tell, the experience was down-to-earth and we felt it to be fairly authentic. Karma is a worthwhile option to consider to try some curious dishes and not break the bank.
PS: the authenticity aspect can easily be overdone when owners get carried away trying to make a point. Karma did not go over the top with trying to scream on how Tibetan they are, which is commendable. At the same time, a bit more comfort to the interior and a more adequate store front could help attract people.