Pachira Asian Cuisine in Toronto

Pachira Asian Cuisine

I finally tried out Pachira. I've bypassed it countless times, opting for dependable diner, The Tulip . It was dismissed as another one of those pseudo-ethnic places that serve glorified mall food until a glance at the menu posted on the window.

Intrigued by the list of dishes that spanned from pad thai to braised beef brisket noodle soup, I was compelled to give it a shot and I'm really glad that I did.

The mango salad with shrimp ($7) looked as gorgeous as it tasted fresh and healthful. The lightly dressed and tangy mix of immaculate sprouts firm with water, sweet mango, red pepper and red onion was punctuated with shreds of spicy basil, coriander, ground peanuts. Adjustments to dishes are welcomed, making for a variety of vegetarian options.

Sweet Turnip Chicken Soup

Sweet turnip chicken soup ($3.50), touted as medicinal, arrived fragrant with dark sesame oil, and was slurped up too quickly to ask for a taste.

Steamed Dumplings

Both steamed and pan-fried dumplings are made with fresh pasta in a variety of fillings. Although both were tasty, the steamed version (veggie $3.50) was on the smaller side with the fried (chicken $4.95) winning out as a portion fit for a light entree.

Fried Dumplings

Moo Shoo Pork

Mo shoo pork ($9.00) was comprised of perfect match sticks of tender crisp veg and lean but pliant pork, tasting brightly of garlic, chili, and a touch of vinegar.

Pho Noodle Soup

Vietnamese noodle soup ($6.95) was also light tasting. The simplicity of the soup: rice noodles with thin beef slices poached by a clear broth, sprinkles of scallion, with a side of requisite bean sprouts and spicy basil may leave fans of more heavily rich pho broths unimpressed

Coconut Cream Curry with Tofu

Best of all was the coconut cream curry with tofu ($7). A Cambodian style that's reminiscent of Thai, the heady, galangal inflected coconut cream melded with cubes of fried tofu and soft sweet potato. The dish sang with a recommended addition of condiments: spoons of chili flecked fish sauce and chopped garlic fried crispy brown.

Owner and hostess, Georgiana Tang, had fed our table as happily as if we'd been personally invited guests. That sort of care and service on top of lovely food in a stylish booth-laden space, makes Pachira a great new local go to.

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