Prepare to meet your Dhoom!

Donald Street restaurant has potential to become a great downtown destination

The Dhoom buffet is fairly small, but the hot entree selection is quite tasty overall. Dylan Hewlett
The Dhoom buffet is fairly small, but the hot entree selection is quite tasty overall. Dylan Hewlett
The Dhoom buffet is fairly small, but the hot entree selection is quite tasty overall. Dylan Hewlett

Dhoom Restaurant & Lounge
141 Donald

St.Dhoom is the latest restaurant to rise from the ashes of a failed predecessor. It replaces an abandoned Pizza Hut on the corner of York and Donald in the city’s core, filling the surrounding streets with tantalizing aromas.

The building is not especially appealing from the outside, but walking through the old fast food foyer and into the suave new interior, it’s easy to forget the building’s past life.

Dhoom has an incredibly modern feel. The sharp lines of the furniture and the smooth, relaxing colour scheme bring to mind a different city in a different decade. Think of a moon city in 2112.

The music, however, does not help sustain the ambiance.

After enduring nearly an hour’s worth of poorly chosen radio hits from the last 30 years, I found myself yearning for Ravi Shankar’s greatest hits or something equally cliché, just for a break.

My companion and I opted for the dining room, though both the dining room and the lounge were quite sparsely populated for 9 p.m. on a weekday.

There was some confusion about whether to seat ourselves or wait, so we stood awkwardly for a few minutes before grabbing a table.

Apart from this initial confusion and another bout of the same as we waited for our bill at the end of the night, the service was decent - relaxed and casual, but attentive.

We both chose the buffet, which we deemed to be the source of the smells that drew us inside.

The Dhoom buffet is fairly small, with only four dishes each in vegetarian and meat sections, about a dozen salad options and a tiny dessert table hidden in a corner.

The salad section featured a nice variety of tame, leafy salad mixes and spicy bean and lentil mash-ups. All the colours of chutney were present, too.

The hot entree selection was pretty meagre, though quite tasty overall.

Serving the butter chicken, for example, consisted of fishing around in a pool of sauce for the delicious chunks of meat. This was probably due to the late hour of our visit.

Apart from the scarcity, the beef curry was a bit too saucy but had a well-balanced flavour. The biryani was oddly sweet compared to others I’ve tried, but if anything this only made it better.

Other options include lamb curry, vegetable pakoras and, oddly, fried chicken.

The naan bread that comes with the buffet was quite poor, however. Some of them were much too dark and unappealingly flakey.

Apart from the naan, the food was good, and for only $15, the buffet is a good deal, too.

Just be sure to hit it up closer to 6 or 7 p.m. so you don’t have to scrounge for dregs, which was my main issue, overall.

Dhoom has a lot of potential to become a great downtown destination.

After a filling and delicious meal, the lounge looks like the perfect place to sit and talk over drinks until your show at the Pyramid or Times Change(d).


Published in Volume 66, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 7, 2012)

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