Tibet Kitchen is one of a number of Tibetan restaurants in Parkdale, which has in recent years become the neighbourhood to head to when you feel like a little po cha or some of the warming food that's served at the various Tibetan owned and operated restaurants on Queen West.
With the choice of Taste of Tibet, Le Tibet and Shangri-La Produce (to name a few) all serving a range of Tibetan and Tibetan-style food within a few blocks of each other, there are only so many times you can walk by them all without walking into one.
Tibet Kitchen is the furthest west of the group, situated just west of Fuller Avenue on Queen West and is more in the aforementioned Tibetan-style category.
Describing itself as asian cuisine, Tibet Kitchen's menu is a combination of ubiquitous dishes such as vegetable spring rolls and sweet/sour shrimp with more specifically Tibetan selections such as 'thuk' noodle soups (albeit made with wheat noodles rather than the traditional barley flour noodles).
As Tibetan food is intended to help ameliorate living in a cold climate, a recent grey July evening on the back patio of Tibet Kitchen (complete with hopelessly optimistic Summer clothing) proves an unfortunately apt opportunity to enjoy it's benefit.
We order a lemon tea ($1.50) and a bhod-jha, black tea made with hot milk, butter and a pinch of salt ($1.50) while we decide what to order.
Personally, I really like the way that the salt cuts the sweet creaminess of very milky tea. No-one else on the table agrees with me, however, and when my second cup proves more than I can manage my attempts to give it away are a dismal failure.
We get vegetable spring rolls to begin with ($2.99 for two) as everyone is too hungry to patiently wait for their entree.
They're flaky rather than greasy, which is a plus, as is the awkward heart-shape that our dipping sauces have settled into, but overall they're pretty unremarkable and bland.
My friend's Phingsha ($8.99) is a welcome recommendation from our server. It's starchy mix of bean noodles, diced potato and side of rice are offset well with the soupy ginger-peppercorn sauce, sautéed beef and black mushrooms.
I get the Sha Bhaley beef patties ($7.99), which are a delicious, meaty, sharing option but are housed in so much deep-fried casing that they're a bit daunting to consider as a solo entree.
The Tsey curry ($8.99), a mix of seasonal vegetables in a very mild curry sauce served with rice, is a decent size for the price and are a good accompaniment to the beef patties. Considered alone though, the vegetables lack any discernible flavour as does the curry sauce.
Tibet Kitchen is certainly worth considering for it's generous portions and reasonable price. A larger group ordering to share would be able to take advantage of how well some of the heavier and plainer dishes combine together.
Considering how good the local competition is though, I probably wouldn't choose it over another trip to Little Tibet for dinner.
Tea is another matter, however, and a regular intake of their bhod-jha would be a pretty effective defence against the cold. Even in July.
Photos by Emma McIntyre