BANJARA 796 Bloor W, at Crawford, 416-963-9360; 164 Eglinton E, at Redpath, 416-486-6644, torontobanjara.com. Rating: NNNN
The Hours: Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 5 to 10:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday noon to 3 pm, 5 to 10:30 pm
The Minimum: $30
The Order: Karahi lamb ($10.99), baingan bhartha ($8.95), cauliflower pakoras ($3.75), onion bhajias, garlic rice (both $3.50) and two plain naans ($1.95 each)
The Damage: $39.09 + free delivery + 5 cents for the plastic bag = $39.14
The Wait (ETA vs Reality): 45 minutes/65 minutes
The Haul: No spice-phobe, ex-JKROM chef Raj Veerella only seasons his north Indian specialties the way they're supposed to be: full-bore. And so we get tender lamb in a gingery tomato sauce littered with crunchy green pepper and spicy puréed eggplant bhartha strewn with whole cinnamon sticks. Both the deep-fried bhajias and pakoras are wrapped in paper, so they arrive relatively crisp, and the naans, though soggy when they show up, soon firm up once they're removed from their voluminous aluminum foil wrap. Better yet, cut the naans into wedges and throw them in the toaster.
Avoid the rice unless you're a fan of biryani food colouring. Bonus: free papadams and rice pudding!