Location: 1422 Queen Street West, Toronto
I’m not gonna lie: I’m kinda cheating with this one. Lhasa Kitchen is a Tibetan restaurant — one of many on this particular stretch of Queen — but when I looked it up online, they had a whole section on their menu dedicated to Bhutanese cuisine.
When I showed up, however, the restaurant was actually called Potala Kitchen, and the dishes from Bhutan were MIA. It was an odd turn of events (odder still: as I write this, there isn’t a single reference to Potala Kitchen online, even on the restaurant’s website).
Bhutan and Tibet are neighbours; their cuisine must be somewhat similar. So… close enough, I guess?
I tried a couple of things. I started with the beef momo — essentially a Tibetan version of steamed Chinese dumplings. The skin was slightly dry and the minced beef inside was a bit tough, but these were still pretty tasty (not to mention a great deal at seven bucks for a very generous order of ten).
I also tried the pork shabtak, which was an unqualified home run. This featured a whole bunch of thick slices of ultra-tender pork belly and slippery fried onions in an oily, intensely flavourful sauce.
It comes with something called tring-mo — a big, fluffy steamed bun. You eat it kind of like you’d eat roti; you tear pieces off and dip it in the pork. Rice is an option, but this was way more interesting.