Toronto just got a posh Indian restaurant with lamb chops coated in 24-karat gold

From the team behind Koh Lipe Thai Kitchen, Savor Thai, Thairoomgrand, and Eat Bkk comes Aamara, a fine dining Indian restaurant that just held its grand opening. With gastronomy that combines tradition and modern techniques — including a focus on golden presentation—Aamara takes inspiration from all of India, from the peaks of Kashmir to the edge of Kanyakumari.

“Foodwise, Toronto was missing a place that served modernized Indian cuisine for all the regions,” says owner Kugendran Perampalam. “They either choose a place that served North Indian food or South Indian Food. But we picked dishes from every region, put modern twists on it, and serve it on a fine dining scale.”

Feeling it was “up-and-coming,” Perampalam chose Corso Italia to open Aamara. There, a banner of red, brown, and yellow immediately welcomes guests into a golden oasis of sumptuous velvet booths, glamorous mirrors spanning the walls and antique light fixtures.

In addition to boasting regional dishes, the menu gives visitors the choice of ordering from the traditional a la carte menu or a seasonal, to-be-released tasting menu. 

Unlike many a butter chicken in the city, the fall-off-the-bone tandoor butter chicken has exactly that — bone. While many of the meats are tandoor-made, another highlight is the signature lamb chops, which are coated with 24-karat gold leaves and served alongside homemade fries.

“In India, we always have gold — we use it in our costumes and on our body — so now we’re bringing gold even into the food as well,” says Aamara’s chef Arulmani Rajarathinam.

But, the golden touches aren’t the only evidence of detail and attention to presentation. The plating, itself, is synonymous with the regions of India where the particular dish originates, with Southern dishes represented in wooden plates (symbolic of the natural-focus of the food) while Northern dishes use ceramic dishes (replicating the richness of the food from the extensive use of nuts and creams).  

Enticing and entirely unique, Aamara has a specialty “probiotics” menu, consisting of various plates around a one-day fermented pulse batter crafted into thin rice crisps, rice pancakes or steamed rice cakes. These are made entirely vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.

“It’s so healthy and suitable for anyone,” says Rajarathinam. “The menu is designed for anyone to walk in and find something they’ll enjoy.”

From a Bengaluru-inspired mango puree and turmeric to a Jaipur-inspired chai tea with cinnamon and bourbon, and a coconut heavy Goa concoction, even the elevated, specialty cocktails will transport diners to a different corner of the country.

“If you come from anywhere in India, you won’t be disappointed with the menu because you’ll be able to find food from your region,”says Rajarathinam.

While the a la carte menu is one of tradition, the seven-course tasting menu—which is coming soon now that Aamara has held their grand opening—will be more “innovative and creative” says Rajarathinam. For example, while the a la carte menu has Aamara’s signature butter chicken, the tasting menu will be a step up, serving a “British butter chicken.”

As it gains more footing beyond the opening, Aamara will soon be open for lunch as well as dinner. Currently Aamara is open Wednesdays to Mondays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 1224 St. Clair Ave. W.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO