Sherman's Food Adventures: Addah


Unexpected restaurants, you know, the ones that are located in the strangest of places and/or serve something we don't usually find in town.  Well, how about Addah located in Chinatown?  It fits the criteria for both where it is located upstairs where The Emerald use to reside and it serves authentic Himalayan cuisine.  Honestly, if Mijune and I weren't invited to try the place out, I wouldn't even know it existed.  Well, beyond the sketchy entrance, the upstairs is well-appointed and a nice place to be in general. Their menu features both Himalayan dishes as well as Westcoast plates.  You see, Chef/Owner Rakesh Tamang is French-trained but also grew up in a Northeast Indian village.

We began with Syelroti & Tingmo served with spiced baby potatoes.  As simple as they appeared, this was super delicious.   The syelroti or cardamom-infused rice donut was crispy and sweet.  Since the tender potatoes were spicy and tangy, this went well together.  I just loved snacking on them and taking sips of my cocktail. Soft and fluffy, the tingmo was the perfect thing to pick up those spicy potatoes.

Next, we had both the Wagyu Beef Momos and the Veggie Momos.  These were attractively pleated and constructed where the wrapper had an appealing elasticity.  There was a chewiness that had a good mouth-feel without being dense.  Inside, the beef was tender and juicy with some soup inside.  It was gingery and naturally meaty tasting.  As for the veggie momo, the ginger came through even more so and the veggies retained a nice crunch.

Off to one of our absolute favourite items of the  meal, the Shyafaley featured a juicy and fatty beef filling that was naturally meaty tasting with the benefit of sweet onions.  It was encased in a flaky fry-bread that was crispy, yet light.  I would've loved to walk around with this in my hand as a snack!  On the side, this was served with feta chili that had a both a spiciness and cooling effect all in one.

So remember when I mentioned that the menu also consisted of West Coast dishes?  Well the Short Rib and Lobster Flatbread was definitely not Himalayan.  This featured 24-hour braised short rib, Nova Scotia lobster, peppers and cheese.  The result was a hearty slice of crunchy flatbread with meatiness, bursts of moisture and lots of cheese.  Pretty tasty and was a bit unexpected.

With eye-popping colours and a bevy of fresh ingredients, the Kale & Pineapple Salad was a nice palate cleanser of sorts.  It featured a sweet and tangy pineapple with a smoky char that was complimented by fresh local kale with berry and lime juices.  Hence it was tangy and sweet, but then amped by the chunks of sharp creamy blue cheese.  It was finished with fresh berries and crunchy hazelnuts.  

The next dish exemplified the skill of the chef as the Scallops on Watermelon was a composed dish that had expert execution.  It featured 4 perfectly-seared scallops atop crispy rice chips and chunks of fresh grilled watermelon.  On the plate, we found a saffron sauce that was gentle enough to let the sweet buttery scallops stand on their own.  Same could be said about the watermelon as it was subtle and didn't interfere with the scallops either.

If we thought the scallops were good, the next dish was even better.  Pheasant 2 Ways featured a thigh meat galantine of sorts packed in crispy skin and roasted breast with a kumquat sauce, grilled rum grapes and preserved morels.  This dish was outstanding and could be served in any fine-dining establishment in the city.  The galatine was juicy and flavourful while the skin was rendered and crispy.  I found the breast meat to be tender and moist with also crispy skin.  The tangy sweet kumquat was a nice compliment to the meat as well as the earthy morels.  Absolutely loved this dish!

Back to the Himalayan side of the menu with the Druk Entrée sporting dried pork belly, shamu datshi and faley.  Oh wow, this didn't look like much, but the whole thing was a flavour bomb, especially the pork belly.  It was so concentrated with sweet and savouriness as well with some numbing spice.  This was balanced out by the shamu datshi or mushrooms and cheese.  We took the faley (bread) and filled them with both and it was a beautiful little bite.

Sticking with Himalayan, we had a very simple dish that was actually very delicious.  It was the Aloo Chew-Ra with baby potato stew topped with crispy flattened rice and green salsa.  When mixed together, we heard the rice singing and crackling.  The result was a mix of ingredients that worked well with each other.  We had the savouriness of the tender potatoes, the crunch from the nutty rice and then the freshness and brightness of the salsa.

Moving back to the Western eats, we had the Pork Tomahawk served atop butter couscous.  Fatty and well-seared, the pork chop was tender and juicy.  It was properly-seasoned with caramel butter, but the citrus mango compote really brought the dish alive with tangy sweet brightness.  However, as mentioned, the flavours were already apparent with umaminess and also nuttiness from the liberal use of butter.

Moving back to the other side of the menu, we had the Aged Beef Stew with butter rice (topped with grilled garlic scapes) and spinach.  Although this looked rather unassuming compared to the previous dishes, this was also money.  That stew had such a wealth of flavours that ranged from the anise to the Szechuan peppercorns.  So we had savoury, sweet, spice and meatiness.  Definitely fall flavours and the meat was super tender and flavourful.

A dish that was stealthily one of the best was also one of the most unassuming.  With fresh turmeric-infused hand cut noodles, the Thenthuk was very home style and comforting.  It sat in a beef broth that was slightly thickened.  It was sweet and slightly spicy with plenty of natural meatiness.  The noodles were perfect being slippery and appealingly chewy.  There was a nice elasticity to them and great mouthfeel.

We also had the Mughlai Biryani which was their interpretation of the dish.  Yes, the traditional dish is layered and is cooked in a sealed clay pot (with pastry).  In this version, there was pieces of tender chicken breast underneath the biryani spices and ingredients.  Hence, we go the spice, slight heat and tang as well as the moist chicken.  It was served with basmati rice and we merely combined it for a robust dish.

Before we got to the dessert, we were served Fermented Black Tea with butter.  Normally, there would be yak butter (which is richer) in this tea, but it is not readily available.  This was smooth and nutty from the butter and went down easy.  So for dessert, we had the Tsampa consisting of Himalayan grains folded with burnt butter, coconut sugar and nuts.  The result was a nutty and crumbly concoction that was only mildly sweet.  That was amped up by the chef's interpretation with some fruit and cream.  Oh man.  What can I say about this meal?  It was really good!  This place should be getting much more business than it is currently.  The Himalayan food was tasty and prepared with passion.  Chef Tamang was also able to nail local cuisine with excellence as well.  Sure, the location is not the best and the entrance isn't inviting, but who says that about Kissa Tanto a block away?  This place should be on many more people's radar.  It is on mine now.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Authentic and delicious Himalayan cuisine
- Equally tasty Westcoast dishes
- Surprisingly nice dining space (you wouldn't know it from the outside)

The Bad:
- The outside is not super inviting
- Maybe they should focus on Himalayan cuisine only, it felt like 2 separate restaurants in one


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