My parents came to town for a visit and one weekday morning, we found ourselves blissfully without kids as they were at daycare/school. (Well, blissfully for me and Jason, probably not for the grandparents.)
Tavoos is a serene, lovely place though I imagine quite busy on the weekends.
We shared most of the dishes so we could get a taste of everything. This is definitely a place for people like me who like savoury dishes. The Paneer Boroshteh ($12.50) is a speciality: two sunnyside eggs with fresh halloumi cheese sautéed in butter. If you’ve never had halloumi, it’s an delicious, semi-soft hard cheese that gets more delicious when you grill it.
Tiny black nigella seeds, which taste a bit peppery and onion-y, are sprinkled over the eggs and cheese.
Rounding out the plate are puckery marinated olives, roasted cherry tomatoes, a slice of smoked salmon and flatbread. It’s ideal to linger over and have a nice conversation.
The shahrudi plate ($10.95) is similar except instead of smoked salmon, there were turmeric-infused potatoes and onions.
Now keep in mind, my parents are the same people we travelled to northeastern China with, where one of the region’s specialties is goat head and intestine soup.
So of course, my dad was dying to try the kalleh pacheh, a Persian delicacy soup made from sheep’s head and hooves. It’s served with one hoof and one tongue and “occasionally an eye in the broth.”
It was just a tad too early in the day, even for me. We promised him we would come back and try another time.
In its place, we ordered the dizi sangi ($14.50), a stew for only people who like lamb. If you don’t like lamb, do not order this. The stew is made of lamb shank and lamb rib, cooked for more than four hours with chickpeas, white beans, potato, onion, tomato and spices in stone pots (the dizi).
It came with instructions. We were to take a handle with a flat end and mash the stew, and then scoop it up with flatbread, along with some yogurt and minced pickled vegetables (torshi).
A bowl of broth is served alongside, which you can also dip bread into, or drink like a soup. The broth was very gamey, and even for lamb-lovers like us, it was too much.
The stew itself was full of flavour but the dish is certainly a heavy one (which is why it’s listed on the menu under “serious lunch.”)
Lastly, we also tried kashk-e badeenjaan, a sautéed and mashed eggplant dip with mint, Persian whey, ground walnut and caramelized onion ($7.95). This was heavier than I anticipated as I didn’t know Persian whey is a thick cheese-like cream. It was tasty, but too much after the stew. (So don’t make our mistake.)
All the meals come with either Persian tea or coffee. I love the red black tea with one cube of sugar. Ahhh. Now that’s a fine brunch.
Tavoos Restaurant (Takht-e Tavoos), 1120 College St., Toronto, (647) 352-7322. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.