Earlier this month I ventured out to Parkdale, on the west end of Toronto, to settle a well-known debate between two competing roti shops. Bacchus Roti Shop and Ali’s West Indian Roti Shop are institutions with their own respective badges of glory. Bacchus gained acclaim when Anthony Bourdain, the king of food exploration, popped by to sample some of their delights. Ali’s has Youtubers singing their praises about their authenticity and artwork spanning through the restaurant.
On a cold, rainy, winter day I was craving a chicken curry (or curry chicken) roti. I decided to take meh big coolie friend Ryan and put our two cents in the pot. We thought that chicken roti would be the best common denominator to judge the two restaurants. It’s simple and beautiful: chicken curry (or curry chicken) is cooked with lumps of delicious slow cooked potato and seasoned with a myriad of spices. The curry is then folded between buttery roti, and wrapped for hungry patrons to messily devour. Here is how the Parkdale restaurants stacked up – each category is rated out of 5:
Couple of things to note: Ali’s chicken roti was wrapped in dhalpouri which is roti with a thin layer of crushed lentils between the folds. I mention this because I am very picky with my dhalpouri and found that Ali’s wasn’t on par. However Ryan brought up a very good point, which is that coming at night we may be getting provisions cooked during the day from an auntie, who probably had to go home to watch her soaps. Overall we felt that Bacchus performed better, but that maybe our analysis would’ve been different if we went during the day.
However this roti showdown is far from over. Apparently the titans of roti, dhalpouri, all things curry are found in Scarborough. An adventure for another day.