Last night, my friend and I were at Star of India, an Indian eatery close to our workplaces downtown Montreal. We’re both serious advocates of Indian dinning in Parc-Ex, but we were so hungry, we wouldn’t have made it all the way to the motherland in one piece. So, we settled for this. Before stepping into the dimly light restaurant, I took a deep breath, and hoped for the best.
Warm smiles and a hospitable staff greeted us as soon as we walked through the door. We took our seats by the window, and as if on cue, our waiter brought us crisp fried Pappadums and Spicy Carrot Chutney.
Butter Chicken was the first to arrive at our table. A few chunks of lean chicken breast pre-baked in a tandoor oven, swam in a rich, deep orange, mild and sweet sauce. The chicken was a bit dry and the level of heat in the sauce wasn’t to my liking, but overall it wasn’t too bad.
Saag Paneer is a simple vegetarian-friendly dish whose main ingredients are spinach and paneer, a non-aged, unsalted and non-melting cheese that’s firm but smooth and spongy in texture. When cooked, it resembles creamed spinach with solid cheese cubes. What we got was extremely disappointing. Not only did it lack salt and a better blend of spices, it was more water-based, and the cheese was clearly overcooked because it was hard and lacked moisture. It was a complete failure.
Personally, I would have ordered plain basmati rice to complement the rest of our order, but my companion insisted that we get Chicken Biryani, a one-pot wonder of chicken, rice and masala. It was vibrant yellow in color and garnished with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, chopped coriander and half a boiled egg (which is quite unusual). The chicken was dried out but the rice had the right consistency. It would have been decent if it weren’t for all the salt that overwhelmed any other flavors that were potentially present. Overall, it was a miss.
We ended the night on a positive note. The Mango Lassi (sort of like a smoothie) was thick, velvety and not too sweet. It was delicious.
The overpriced cuisine didn’t live up to my standards, but I’m sure it’s passable for patrons who don’t share my love of Indian food. Also, as friendly as the waiters were, they stared as us the entire time, making us feel extremely uncomfortable – people can actually back me up on this one. I wasn't impressed, and if you're looking for true indian food deliciousness, you won't find it here. Star of India only reinforces the idea that stellar Indian food can only be found in Parc-Ex.
Star of India
1806 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest | map