OM Restaurant and Bar
OM Restaurant is Parkdale's newest go-to spot for authentic Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian eats. Owned by a Tibetan family and featuring a Nepalese chef who lived and worked in Delhi, It has been open for less than 5 months but already getting a reputation for solid lunch and dinner fare.
Inside, the restaurant is deceivingly spacious. There's a fully licensed bar, mustard coloured walls, free WiFi and a large rear patio.
The menu is somewhat staggering - 86 dishes broken down by chicken, beef, lamb, seafood and vegetarian options. Prices are modest. Entrees average $8.99 with the $12.99 Tandoori Shrimp the most expensive of the bunch.
We order some Mango Lassis (yogurt shake with mango) to start as well as Limca - a tangy lime seltzer drink which acts as a perfect counterpoint to the delectably spicy fare.
For starters our waiter brings some homemade Gyuma ($5.99 - top photo), a Tibetan beef sausage served with a slathering of hot sauce. This dish is very similar to the Spanish Morcilla or the English Black Pudding and is quintessential Tibet fare. It's just spicy enough to awake the taste buds without overpowering them. It's good on its own but I imagine it would pair really well as a bar snack with a frosty beer.
Next up is the Jasha Momo ($6.99), traditional steamed chicken dumplings that remind of the Chinese influence on Tibetan cuisine. They're served with delightful but potent chutney that really opens up the flavour and also a smidgen of good old coleslaw to counteract the heat. For those not into spicy food, go easy on the chutney or order up another bottle of Limca to help fight the fire.
OM has their own Tandoor clay oven where they bake their own Naan (leavened Indian flatbread) as well as assorted meats and vegetables. We order the Garlic Naan ($1.99) as well as the more standard Butter Naan ($1.50). These both easily beat the dry and chewy, buffet-type mass-produced Naan commonly found around town.
The Garlic Naan is particularly impressive, a revelation composed of perfectly toasted bread, pungent garlic and fresh parsley. It's delicious on its own and fantastic when paired with any of the saucy dishes.
Chili Chicken ($8.99) is fried chicken sauteed in tomato, onion, ginger, garlic and green chili and was a bit on the salty side but we quickly remedied this with a few squeezes of lemon. The potency of the green chili should not to be underestimated. Even a small portion lit up our mouths.
We love our lamb so choosing from OM's menu was a bit of a challenge since they serve it in numerous mouth-watering ways (Curry, Vindaloo and Saag, just to name a few). We settle on Lamb Karahi ($8.99) which is slow cooked with fresh onions, green pepper, ginger, garlic and spices topped with cilantro. It's all served fresh and steaming in a hot karahi (miniature wok).
And the sauce! While the lamb chunks were just a little tough, we could see any type of meat, fish or vegetable working well with this glorious sauce. It's complex, citrusy, fragrant and so good it should be bottled up and sold at Pusateri's.
Last but not the least we gorged on the Bhendi Masala ($8.99), crisp chopped okra with onion, tomato and lemon juice. This dish was rich and oily yet sumptuous all the same.
With our taste buds in overdrive and heads spinning from all the rich, big flavors and spices we end our meal with cups of Bhod-Jha ($1.50). This is a Tibetan traditional tea blended with butter, milk and lightly salted. It's both relaxing and a sublime way to cleanse the palate and end the meal.
And what was even more of a delight? How about the bill! For three people, all this food and drinks added up to only $60.34 with leftovers to take home. Will I be back? For sure. Maybe next time for their weekend Tibetan Brunch which I'm told revolves around Naan, eggs and chickpea sauce.
Tue-Thurs: 11 am-3pm & 5pm to 10pm
Friday: 11am-3pm & 5pm-11pm
Saturday: 10 am to 11pm
Closed on Mondays