We have such a wonderful opportunity to experience cuisines of great cultural diversity in the Toronto GTA. Now, Gulf House a new restaurant, has opened on Yonge street just north of Bloor. The owners/hosts are most gracious, charming and welcoming and more than pleased to explain the elements of each dish.
Motabaq: our favourite dish, "beef crepes": sauteed ground beef, chopped green onions and tomatoes, parsley and eggs, wrapped in a whole wheat crepe and pressed in the sandwich press. We were told, afterwords, that we should have squeezed lemon juice onto the pieces, but when lemon is served in slices, not wedges, one does not get the idea and anyhow, tough to squeeze lemon slices.
Kabsa chicken: Moist, grilled chicken leg with delicious basmati rice mixed with slow sauteed, sweet tasting onions and raisins, served with a side of mildly spicy Gulf House sauce.
Shawerma bites: marinated chicken wrapped in thin saag bread with a side of garlic cream (that for me could have used a touch more garlic), sliced tomato, cucumber and scallion. We found the chicken a bit too dry but we liked the the crispy effects on the bread of the sandwich press. The dish has potential if the chicken is moist.
Mathaloota: a layer of crispy gersan bread and a layer of crushed wheat cooked in yogurt, with flavours of cumin and coriander, topped with basmati rice and slow sauteed, sweet tasting onions and raisins and moist grilled chicken (on the left) and slow roasted lamb (on the right).
Qersan: diced lamb tossed with thin, crispy saag bread mixed with vegetables and a rich lamb broth. Delicious and one of our favourite dishes.
Khaliya: freshly baked, sweet, light textured dough balls, filled with cream cheese and drizzled with warm honey, a delicious pastry.
Masoob: we liked this dish very much, starting by tasting small samplings and as the dish grew on us, we finished it! This delicious dish consists of a mix of over-ripe bananas, rich kishta cream (from whey), ground wheat, butter and honey.
Knaffa: layers of a crispy, thin noodle pastry, a bit like eating sweet shredded wheat, flavoured with orange blossom water, with a warm cream filling and with honey and assorted nuts.
Very simple but tasty dishes are what this experience is all about.