IST Snack Bar
IST Snack Bar serves a menu of fusion small plates like butter chicken vol-au-vent, tandoori wings and hummus platters inspired by the likes of 416 Snack Bar.
The name of the 32-seat spot is a play on Indian Standard Time, bouncy eighties tunes rippling throughout the space during my visit.
Chilli paneer is $11.95 for a relatively small plate, but the flavours are big, cubes of paneer given a thick coating and tossed in a sticky, sweet and very spicy hakka chilli sauce that fuses the salty, dense Indian cheese with a Chinese element.
Butter chicken vol-au-vents are $12.95 for an order of two, and the fusion of French and Indian works surprisingly well. It makes sense when you think about it: the buttery, creamy, bready elements of both cuisines complementing each other.
Butter chicken is a faithful rendition of the classic, tender meat and a mildly spicy, nicely textural sauce cradled in a flaky but sturdy puff pastry tower, cheddar and mozzarella melted on top. Opt for the butter chicken served in more typical fashion rice for the same price.
There's also no change in price for a vegan version of the same dish, which replaces the chicken with tofu, butter with margarine and cream with coconut.
Lamb kebab sliders come in an order of two for $11.95, flattened patty versions of herby lamb seekh kebabs on shiny mini brioche buns with sauteed peppers, pickled onions, greens and seasoned mayo that combine to add a little extra texture and moisture.
The cheekily-named Bartender's Phone Number ($13) is a combination of St-Germain, Jim Beam, simple syrup, lime juice and frothy egg white, garnished with a fan of thin, crisp apple slices that can provide a refreshing counterpoint between bites of spicy snacks.
Brit Made Me Do It ($13) is a "spaggled" cocktail, meaning it's topped off with sparkling wine, served with a shot of butterfly pea flower tea that changes the drink's colour when poured in, thanks to the presence of citric acid.
Banquettes were done by a local Parkdale upholstery company, patterned and textured wallpaper custom designed by Orange Print.