RAVISOUPS (322 Adelaide West, at Peter, 647-435-8365) Complete meals for $13 per person, including all taxes, tip and a soft drink. Average main $8. Open Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm, lunches from 11 am. Closed Saturday, Sunday, holidays. Unlicensed. Access: five steps at door, washrooms downstairs. Rating: NNNN
He’s been called the prince of soup, and his menu describes the luxurious broths and gumbos he creates at his downtown take-away as “hot tubs for your soul,” but Ravi Kanagarajah’s supernal soups deserve the hype.
This feted Mildred Pierce saucier and soup sous opened RaviSoups in the former clubland location of Black Camel last spring and, despite the lack of foot traffic, quickly developed a devoted following. The slick space hasn’t changed much from its Camel days – a takeout counter and cash up front, a 25-seat room at the rear, plus backyard patio when weather permits for those who want to dine in situ. By noon there are lineups.
And for good reason! Kanagarajah’s swoonsome curried apricot and red lentil soup ($6.99, all 12 ounces) is more velvety veggie purée than mere soup, its subtle flavouring intensified by fresh coriander leaf and citrusy crème fraîche. His roasted butternut squash proves even more impressive, thick with shredded duck confit and dressed with Chinese chives.
Kanagarajah’s porcini mushroom and wild rice bisque wows even more, its vegan duxelles of ’shrooms and nutty grains splashed with buttery truffle oil. Only the Bangkok-inspired chicken hot pot (all $7.99) misses the mark, a tasty yet timid take despite menu claims that it includes lemongrass, kaffir lime and Thai basil. All come sided with an impossibly rich house-baked cheddar biscuit spread with spicy currant jelly.
But there’s more to RaviSoups than just chowder. His grilled tortilla wraps won’t put a dent in nearby Burrito Boyz’ business, but they’re certainly the better meal deal, especially the roasted free-range chicken with baby spinach, roasted yam, caramelized onion and chipotle mayo ($7.99, 16 ounces).
Or pair a slightly smaller 12-ounce version with an 8-ounce soup for only 10 bucks. Best of all, everything in the joint – even the combos – is half-price Fridays from 5 to 6 pm!
Photo By David Laurence