I’ve been to Ji restaurant before….sort of. I’ve reviewed the space before in its previous incarnation Concession Road (a modern take on Continental cuisine) and the flavour profiles are very similar to its sister restaurant (also recently reviewed) Pukka. Ji is a playful take on Indian street food. Imagine all your traditional bar favourites (burgers, wings, fun drinks) all with an Indian twist. That’s Ji. The spartan former space has been warmed up with splashes of turquoise and thick ceramic place settings. Now it’s more comfortable and inviting.
We start with the Semolina Puffs ($9), which are fried little pastry cups filled with chickpeas, potatoes, yoghurt and sauced with hot and sweet chutneys - think channa curry morphed into a cocktail party canape. Our server was big (one might say insistent) on the Delhi-style chicken lollipops ($14). Just the drummette part of the wings were Frenched and crispy deep-fried and served with a green (read mint and cilantro) chutney. It’s hard not to like deep-fried chicken. It’s equally hard to advocate for deep-fried chicken in a health and wellness lifestyle magazine.
Moving on. My wife Naomi went traditional with her main, the Daily Fish “bowl” ($19), in this case a sea bass, served with coconut curry with mustard seeds, tamarind and chili served over lemon scented basmati rice. For those who enjoy the the fish curry at Pukka, more of the same goodness.
I decided to embrace the “bun” ...er fun and ordered the Spicy Grilled Beef Burgers ($17) with Gruyere caramelized onion and garlic mayo. So the Bussin family motto (roughly translated from the Latin or Yiddish) is “more is better”. So I shouldn’t really complain about being served two of the biggest “mini” burgers I’ve ever seen. The burgers were spicy, but not hot. Not exactly curry-flavoured, but unmistakably Indian. The secret of this burger is that the onion is really a deep fried onion Bhaji. And yes, it definitely works with the gruyere cheese.
The menu cutely asks you to “Namastay for Dessert”. How can you resist? So we shared the Banana Coconut Cream Pie ($8). And after all the deep fried naughtiness here’s where the itty bitty bit of health creeps in. The cream in the cream pie wasn’t dairy-based, but a literal coconut cream. I know. I’m grasping. But it was very tasty. Disclaimer: Normally I’d jump at cocktails like a “Chutney Mary” or a “Spiced Mojito”, but planning ahead for the deep-fried burger and cream pie fiesta, I opted for a hard cider instead. See, it’s all about moderation. 760 St. Clair Ave. W. (just west of Christie) (647) 559-3232 - No website at the time of this review