Padmanadi has always been elusive to me. My family never has the incentive to go there and I don’t have any friends who are vegetarian or vegan (except one who did manage to do it for a month for fun). So it was a shocker when I woke up Saturday morning and asked Joe what he felt like eating. Padmanadi. I’m sorry, you want to eat vegetarian for the second weekend in a row? Yes. Well okay! No arguments from me.
I had envisioned a run down restaurant in my head, a hole in the wall place, although I knew their front shop looked modern. It was a pleasant surprise to find the place completely unlike the one in my head: clean, brightly lit, and decorated quite liberally with photos of happy people (who are they…?), and a full size statue of Buddha as the restaurant’s main feature. Oh hello!
Unbeknownst to us, there was a brunch menu! Don’t know what why I thought I would be having vegetarian stir fries and curries for breakfast, I was totally off my game that day, spidey senses haywire. Padmanadi’s brunch is quite far from it’s Indonesian roots and quite adapted to Westernized brunches with granola, hot cereals, french toasts, and omelets with Asian-inspired hits here and there.
I was already starving by the time we arrived so my eye was definitely bigger than my stomach. We ordered the roti canai to start as previous experiences at Malaysian restaurants such as Tropika and East have taught me that roti canai is the best possible way to start any meal. Okay, maybe not brunch. It was nice and flaky though, a strong flavor of butter overpowering it. I wonder if they actually use ghee (clarified butter) versus plain butter though because the flavor is different from Tropika’s, more similar to East’s. I’m not an expert and I should have asked. Accompanied by a rich creamy curry sauce to dip with, I would only recommend the dish as an appetizer if there were more people involved. 3 pieces, divided up into 6 total slices makes for a lot of roti!
Joe ordered the Tofu Tom Yum Scramble, the base, a rice vermicilli. It had great flavors, the traditional Thai hot and sour notes, and Joe seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. It also came with a side of multigrain toast slathered with butter and fresh (and I mean FRESH) fruit. Unnecessary in Joe’s opinion, but he did eat the fruit.
I was in the mood for a little heat so I ordered the Spicy Eggplant Omelet, where the traditional egg omelet has been replaced with fried bean curd sheets. The dish was huge! Not only did it come with a side of the same multigrain toast and fruit, it came with rosemary root vegetable hash of potato, sweet potato, and taro! Holy moly, should NOT have ordered the roti!
Best part of my dish, the immense amount of vegetables in the omelet. The colours! Beautiful! There’s no editing on that photo people, the eggplant was that purple. The spice level could have been turned up in my opinion so ask for it if you like your heat. The fried bean curd was delicious although a thinner layer might be more suitable as the inner layers tended to get soggy from the sauce. Even if the fried bean curd was just placed on top of the fillings (disqualifying it as an omelet), this might have improved texture. Although delicious, there was no way I could finish the dish!
Sometimes I think most people who come to vegetarian/vegan restaurants, their expectations are somewhat lowered because they know it’s meatless. So when they taste something delicious, it’s as if it’s the best thing they’ve ever had. Is this the case? It was excellent for vegan food. But on a scale of unrestricted eats? I’d still say pretty decent. Your belly will be full of much needed vegetables! It was clear from that one visit that they have multiple return customers though, as our server and the owner were circulating and chatting away with multiple tables. Free parking located directly behind the restaurant, accessible through the alleyway and if full, an Impark lot directly north of the building and street parking available. I will definitely return to Padmanadi for dinner to try the more traditional Asian dishes. Who knows, maybe Joe will have another vegetable craving next week and I’ll be there sooner than expected. Great place to eat, especially if you have guests with restricted diets! Not a gluten-free menu though, heads up and notify them if you’re celiac!
Other notes: On our way out, I nabbed their loyalty card which is run by a third party, iRedeem, where you earn points for every visit and can redeem them for cash vouchers at Padmanadi or at participating businesses! Right now (February 10 – May 10, 2014) there’s a promotion for 200 extra points for new members, worth $10. That’s a free roti my friend! There’s even an app for it so the excuse of “too many cards in my wallet” doesn’t work. Before you go, sign up online to receive your card (or go pick one up) and have those points ready to go! During my visit, I also noticed a small hot buffet area, which I later learned is offered on a Friday, once a month, $20/pp. Dates are available on their website with the upcoming one on Friday, February 28.Padmanadi
10740 – 101 St