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

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

Photo by Ebti Nabag

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Name: Adrak
Contact: 138 Avenue Rd., adrakyorkville.ca, @adrakyorkville
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Owner: Ambica Jain
Chefs: Narendra Singh, Abhijeet Singh, Dharampal Singh, Praveen Kumar, Satpal Singh
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

The food

Adrak’s Indian culinary stylings cover a lot of ground, reflecting not only the sprawling country’s regional diversity, but both pre-colonial and colonial periods. The concept is propped up by an unconventional kitchen structure: there’s no head chef. Instead, a handful of them—each specializing in a particular area or style of cooking—head their respective sections. There’s a shared a mentor, however: most of the team trained under Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia.

Owner Ambica Jain

The unorthodox kitchen—which has a sister location in Richmond Hill—deploys exclusively house-blended spices in its lavish creations, like a chili, fenugreek and coriander-laden bhatti masala on a juicy, pan-seared whole lobster. Much of the cooking and baking is done in clay tandoor ovens, which rapidly fire everything from sesame-marinated prawns and tandoori chicken to chili-laced, garlic-speckled naan.

Naan speckled with garlic, coriander, and red chili 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 bread crumbs and deep fried. Crunchy and satisfying, the cutlets are served open-faced on toast over a bed of mixed greens and edible petals. $18.


This knockout of a dish, paneer makhani, is constructed tableside. Steaming tomato-fenugreek butter sauce—think butter chicken sauce, but significantly less sweet than your standard variety—is poured over grilled paneer, raisins and dates. Finding little morsels of dried fruit, plumped up with the aromatic sauce, is a rewarding treasure hunt. $28.


Kashmiri-style slow-cooked lamb shank spiced with fennel, ginger and chili sits in a warm tomato-onion sauce studded with morel mushrooms and little pools of truffle oil. It’s a relatively mild but deeply savoury, luxuriant dish. $50.


The pan-seared bhatti lobster sings with a blend of coriander, fenugreek, chili and cumin. It’s served with rich, spiced malai yogurt and cream sauce, shaved radish and greens. A heady mix of spices manages to enhance the delicate crustacean without overpowering it. $65.
Here we have the non-vegetarian thali. There are two types of chicken here—kadipatta (spiced with curry leaves and green chili, and tenderized with an overnight yogurt marinade) and tandoori (also marinated in yogurt and spiced with Kashmiri chili and house garam masala). Also, delightful sesame-marinated prawns and lamb seekh, or minced lamb with chili, coriander and browned onion. It’s all served with a crisp salad of green apple, pomegranate and mung beans, along with lemon juice and chili-laced onions, mint chutney and a grilled lime. $75.


The naan’s before shot


And its after shot


Too many chefs in the kitchen can be a good thing
The drinks

An inspired cocktail program draws on a library of house infusions and other curiosities: think dry vermouth infused with turmeric and curry leaves, chamomile syrup, chiseled coconut ice cubes and black sesame fat-wash. (There are excellent mocktails, too, for the abstaining crowd.) A tight wine list emphasizes lighter-bodied, citrus-forward wines that complement the cuisine. And there’s a solid selection of spirits, too, including a wide range of single-malt whiskey, tequila and even sake.

Reminiscent of Indian embroidery—in particular, ancient saris woven with gold thread—the Golden Nineyards is inspired by the flavours and aromas of southern India. El Dorado rum infused with elaichi (a small species of banana), turmeric and curry leaf–spiked dry vermouth, coconut syrup and fresh pineapple is dusted with matcha and blue pea flower powder. It’s an aromatic, tropical take on a sour. $21.


Here we have the Maharaja’s Howitzer, a punchy, spirit-forward cocktail inspired by the powerful elephants who pulled canons for Northwest India’s Sikh infantry during its battles with the British Empire. A blend of balsam fir liqueur, chamomile syrup and Black Label whiskey is topped up with Crabbie’s ginger cider and garnished with mint, dehydrated lemon and torched thyme. $21.


Notice the cheeky dragonfruit garnish to see why this juicy mocktail is called the Joker. Fresh mango, lychee, lime juice and dragonfruit make for a luscious bevy that’s no second fiddle to its boozy counterparts. $9.
The space

The foyer is decked out in jewel-toned wallpaper depicting frolicking animals meant to make you feel like you’re standing outside an ancient Indian palace. When guests walk in, they’re greeted by a gorgeous sculpture of the Hindu deity Ganesha. The main dining room is opulent and palatial with hand-carved furniture, mustard yellow upholstery and carved archways. Upstairs, the private dining room stuns with an amber-coloured onyx backdrop on both ends and a glossy black marble dining table that seats up to 20 people.