What’s on the menu at Leela, a new Indian tapas restaurant from the owner of Amaya

What’s on the menu at Leela, a new Indian tapas restaurant from the owner of Amaya

Name: Leela Indian Food Bar
Neighbourhood: The Junction
Contact: 3108 Dundas St. W., @leelabyamaya
Owners: Hemant Bhagwani
Chef:  Sudhan Natarajan

The food

Snacks like curried popcorn and chaat, a crunchy street-food staple in India; curries, including a charcoal-smoked butter chicken; naan “pizza”; and two tasting menus of 12 to 15 dishes. “The idea here is to try small portions of lots of different things,” says Bhagwani. “I feel that with Indian food, the palate gets tired very quickly because diners typically get bigger portions of spicy or rich dishes like chicken tikka or butter chicken. Here, you just have a couple bites of one dish and then move on to a new one with a new flavour.”

From the Naan Bar, house-made naan topped with spicy, smoked chicken tikka. $6.75

HB’s Butter Chicken: charcoal-smoked and topped with melon seeds and green chilies. $9.95.

Vegetable kofta: jackfruit in a Kashmiri yakhni (yogurt-based) sauce. $9.95.

A sample tasting menu: chicken tikka, pickled carrots, coastal prawn curry, rice, goat curry, channa masala, black pepper chicken curry, naan, cauliflower chaat, butter chicken, salad, raita and samosas. Serves two. $35 per person.

Bhagwani (left) and head chef Sudan

The drinks

Bottled beer (Amsterdam, Beau’s, Muskoka); signature cocktails with Indian twists, like the Bollywood Gin Tonic made with fig-infused booze; and a list of mostly international wines Bhagwani selected to pair with his dishes. Non-potent potables include lassis (mango and avocado) and masala soda made with fresh grapefruit juice, soda, lime and a house-made masala syrup.

The space

The colourful, 30-seat space has a big open kitchen and one wall decorated with foodstuffs imported from India.