Veda (874 Yonge, at Scollard, 416-840-3132) Complete meals for $8 per person, including all taxes and a lassi. Average main $6. Open Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 9 pm, Saturday and Sunday noon to 8 pm. Unlicensed. Access: Barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NN
Back in the olden days, oh, three or four years ago, the people who opened restaurants generally had an interest in food. Today, all they need is a marketing degree and a business plan.
Take Jared Ross, a Calgary investment banker and recent graduate of U of T's Rotman School of Management, who made his MBA project the creation of a fast food franchise serving health-conscious but cheap Indian curries.
He named it Veda, for "knowledge" in Sanskrit . Think of it as a subcontinental Mr. Submarine, if you will.
Soon, or so goes the plan, there will be a Veda on every corner - like Starbucks - and Mr. Ross will become very rich. Where do I sign up?
While the Yorkville take-away's design is sleek, the grub's a little rough around the edges. Nothing a focus group can't fix, though.
The concept's a keeper: two tiffin combos, one with veggie and meat curries ($5.65), the second both meat ($5.87), the pair served with plain or quite palatable spinach-freckled basmati, and naan. Though it resembles Campbell's cream of tomato soup, Veda's butter chicken is tasty nonetheless, the tofu version virtually indistinguishable. Neither saag chicken nor beef Madras wimps out in the spice department.
Yes, Veda has significantly cut back on the use of oil in its food, but its substitution with off-kilter spicing and what tastes like vinegar undermines the veggie curries except the red lentil masoor dal, which has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Not a bad thing, that (all $2.61 on their own).
The naan's a joke ($1.09), a half-moon of prefab flatbread that's never seen the inside of a tandoor.
But the minced chicken samosa ($1.30), though on the small side, improves with sweet tamarind sauce, and the lentil and split pea soup ($2.61) approaches Middle Eastern territory by way of rural Quebec, especially after a shot of cucumber raita (87 cents).