Lageez is an Indian restaurant tucked into a Scarborough strip mall. They make traditional Northern Indian cuisine and have their own tandoor oven to bake naan, chicken and even butter chicken.
The interior is long and narrow and seats forty. A bar where you can pick up take-out is relatively elegant while also providing a good level of separation from dine-in customers.
Typically a mango lassi ($4) is a good place to start at any Indian restaurant. Theirs is a little different from the average, topped with crumbled pistachios and with a rose essence syrup drizzled on the inside of the glass. They also serve their lassi on the rocks instead of blending the ice into the drink.
We try lamb vindaloo ($12.99), made with the most tender New Zealand lamb marinated in-house and swimming in spicy sauce. Along with the lamb are tiny vidalia onions, which are sweet and crunchy and deliver a powerful onion flavour if you pop a whole one in your mouth.
The naan ($2 - $5, depending on choice of flavour) that comes on the side is hand-folded, made within minutes by slapping an oval of dough onto the side of the super-hot tandoor in the kitchen.
You'll need it to scoop up all the savoury sauce enveloping their butter chicken ($12.99), made using white meat. Many Indian places make their butter chicken sauce using a combo of crushed canned tomatoes and fresh ones, maybe a fifty-fifty mix. Here, the tomatoes that go into the butter chicken sauce are all fresh.
The saffron rice ($2) has its own twist too. It's a tricolour blend of basmati rice made with what they call "The Three C's" at Lageez: cinnamon, cardamom and clove.
For their tandoori chicken, Lageez always starts with a whole bird. A half order ($10) is four pieces of chicken, and a full order ($18) is the whole eight pieces of bright orange chicken.
Their samosas are always folded by hand, too. They come with house-made mango chutney, and you can get an order of four for five bucks.
Photos by Hector Vasquez