You’ve probably passed by Devi on Crescent street in the center of downtown Montreal so many times, we know that we have. We didn’t know what type of food was cooked behind the doors of Devi, but on bustling Crescent street, it’s easy for a restaurant to be overlooked. We were invited to Devi for their ten-year anniversary event and we were happy to hear that they were an Indian restaurant.
Their restaurant is two floors, with a private floor upstairs that can be reserved for events, decorated with that perfect Indian feel, we immediately loved the look of the place. The waiters were more than polite, making jokes with everyone and making you feel at ease, and for the event they had a henna tattoo station. P’tit Soeur and Sweet Pea jumped at the opportunity!
It was a set menu with appetizers being passed out during the first part of the evening. They steered us away from the usual samosas that are associated with Indian food, so that we try new dishes, and not the usual Indian-Canadian favourites. We tried Malai Kebab which is chicken marinated in cream cheese with green cardamom, the chicken was tender and full of flavour. The Tandoori Shrimp were big, marinated in ginger, garlic and yogurt and, of course, they were cooked in a tandoor oven, meaning a clay oven that’s used to make “tandoori” Indian dishes.
Indian spices include turmeric, garam masala, curry etc – all flavours which are very prevalent in Indian cuisine. We love pakora but we’ve only had the vegetarian version, at Devi we tried fish pakora for the first time, it was good and crispy, but our least favourite appetizer! Our favourite appetizer was the Manchurian Cauliflower, who knew that cauliflower could taste this good? Certainly not us! Tangy tomato sauce with garlic, curry leaf and black pepper enveloped fried cauliflower that had the consistency of fritters. It had an Asian feel to it, nothing like we had ever tried within Indian cuisine!
Another gem of the night was the cheese kurkuri which were basically fried rolls of cheese that were crispy on the outside but gooey and cheesy on the inside, they were served with a mint chutney. This isn’t on their usual menu, but an evening special! You know how much the Divas love cheese, and we couldn’t stop eating these delicious fried Indian cheese sticks. Although we didn’t try their samosas, Devi thankfully did not skip out on an old classic, butter chicken!
Served with plenty of white rice and delicious naan bread (it’s all about the naan), the butter chicken was rich, delicious and saucy, just the way we like it. We were soon asking for more naan to finish the sauce – as usual! We also tried the lamb rogan josh which was perfectly slow cooked in an onion tomato sauce with tons of spices like cloves and cinnamon. This dish is made up of braised lamb cooked with yogurt, spices, browned onions or shallots and dried chillies, giving it that formidable red colour.
We had never tried Dum Aloo before, this potato based dish is made up of potatoes that are at first deep fried and then cooked slowly in a gravy with more traditional Indian spices. This is not on their usual menu, but another evening special! It was our least favourite main meal, we much preferred the lamb rogan josh and butter chicken. Devi intrigued us, we would love to return for some of our Indian cuisine favourites like lamb korma and lamb vindaloo.
For dessert we had Shahi Tukkra, which is basically Indian bread pudding. Cashews, almonds, pistachios, cardamom and saffron make up this complex and very unique dessert. It’s a rich dessert that we could not decide if we liked or not, it was strange on the palate, but we couldn’t stop eating it.
Devi is a little pricier than most Indian restaurants due to its location and because it has an upscale look. Most Indian restaurants in Montreal are more disheveled and, as they say, a “hole-in-the-wall.” Devi offer takeout, delivery and plenty of group specials, definitely a spot that you should stop overlooking on Crescent St!
Our Review: Splendid
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