Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Linda

Location: 11 Karl Fraser Rd, Shops at Don Mills, Toronto, ON M3C 1P8, Canada
Outside of Linda -> the Shops at Don Mills
The original Salad King, a popular Thai restaurant in Toronto, used to be open down town at 335 Yonge Street near the Ryerson campus until the building collapsed in April 2009. Luckily, the owners decided to branch out and create a new restaurant - Linda - uptown to appease the fans of Salad King. Good news for Salad King lovers - they reopened Salad King at 340 Yonge Street now. However, Linda is the restaurant with the Winterlicious menu: $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. 


Amazing decorations inside - it really resembles what a Thai palace might look like!


Grilled Chicken Lemongrass Skewers
minced chicken with lemongrass and Thai herbs grilled on lemongrass skewers
I guess from reading the description I should have gathered that the chicken would be wrapped around the lemongrass stick (but I wasn't quite prepared for it). I found the chicken was kind of rubbery to eat and you really had to use your teeth to dig in there for the chicken on the skewer. The sauce was pleasant and the skewer was fragrant - but I don't think this was the best appetizer they offered.



Mieng Kum (for 2 persons)
classic Thai street food made from peanut, dried shrimp, shredded coconut, lime, chili, shallot, wrapped in betel leaves


I found this really interesting - the presentation was artistic and really creative and it just worked well together aesthetically. I loved the option of customizing it to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. The waitress taught us how to eat it - you wrap up the betel leaves (which are imported from Thailand apparently) into a cone shape and you sprinkle the your choice of toppings (from top left and clockwise): shredded coconut, red onions, limes, chillies, sauce (with a little kick), dried shrimp and peanuts. 
Fantastic way to start off the meal and kick start the appetite, but there were only four leaves...

All together now

Lobster Bisque
lobster, butter, home-made lobster broth
Compared to other lobster bisques I've had in the past, this one was not up to the same standard as the other lobster bisques I've had (the one at Bannock is pretty good). It wasn't as thick and cream heavy as I would have expected. I could definitely get that lobster flavour in the soup and there was even one chunk of lobster in the soup. 

Tom Yum Goong (Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup)
shrimp, mushroom, home-made chili paste in our homemade Thai soup stock
When we ordered, the waitress told us that the soup wasn't spicy at all - so we thought "OK we can handle it". But when we actually got it and tried it, it was much too spicy for us - so we couldn't really enjoy it. We were overwhelmed by the spiciness that we kept having to refill our water glasses.



Thin “Laksa” Soup
Linda’s curry Laksa soup made from shrimp stock, coconut milk and curry spices
Delicious! Really nicely done with shrimp, mussel and noodles in the soup. I thought it had great flavour and I loved the curry taste. It was just a smooth, savoury and scrumptious soup combination! I would really recommend you try it at Linda. 



Slow Poached Duck with Hawthorn and Cranberry Sauce
slowly cooked duck breast with bok choy and our sweet and sour sauce
The duck was cooked perfectly - juicy, not gamy and appetizing. I thought the cranberry sauce added a really nice touch (it wasn't exactly what I would expect from a Thai restaurant but I was happy with the meal). Instead of Bok Choy, we got taro which kind of different, but it turned out to be a mix (making it a little more Asian). 
 Crispy Beef in Panang Curry
crispy beef brisket in a rich, creamy curry made from own Panang curry paste

OMG YUM! The beef was AMAZING and the curry was the perfect compliment. The brisket was crispy and crunchy on the outside and inside was shredded beef brisket that fell-apart in your mouth. They were exquisite together. We really had to savour each mouthful of beef, curry and rice because it was so enjoyable (even with the little kick of the curry at the end) - we didn't want to stop eating it!
Homemade Gelato (vegetarian)
your choice from our selection of homemade gelato 
We ordered pistachio gelato and we got some sweetened red beans underneath. It wasn't the best pistachio gelato we've ever had (that has been reserved for Hollywood Gelato in Toronto), but it was ok - the pistachio flavour just didn't stand out.

Mango Sticky Rice (vegetarian)
fresh mango, white glutinous rice, sesame seed, sweet coconut milk
We found this really hard to eat with a fork since the mango slices were difficult to cut with their oblong forks. It was definitely an Asian dessert (which we're not really fans of), so it was not particularly enjoyable to us.
Deep Fried Banana with Honey (vegetarian)
battered, deep fried golden banana topped with honey and roasted sesame seed
Great! Probably some of the best deep fried banana I've had so far as it wasn't too greasy and the banana inside wasn't super mushy. I thought it was a perfect portion size (especially for sharing)


Overall, the experience at Linda was good! The food was delicious - probably some of the best Thai in Toronto and the ingredients were fresh and they worked together really well. The presentation of the food was nice and the aesthetics of the restaurant were great! The service was ok and if there was one bad spot in the night it was probably when the manager kept hurrying back and forth in the restaurant and rearranging the seating to shift customers around. We just felt kind of rushed watching him and we got the impression that we should hurry and finish our food to get out of the restaurant so that the next tables could be seated. 


Website: http://www.lindarestaurant.com/

Linda Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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