Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

  • Blog Stats

    • 22,064 hits
  • Advertisements

Mona’s Roti Shop review : Highly average in Scarborough

Posted by Rishiray on June 16, 2010


As the first in an ongoing challenge to truly find Toronto’s best roti, I started with Mona’s Roti Shop. In the Trinidadian community, roti and doubles are by far the two most popular take-out options.

In fact, if you ask any non West Indian about Trinidad, they’ll probably tell some great story about roti and curry at some Trinidadian family friend’s house. In trying to find the best roti in Toronto, rather than listening to the hype of every Ravi, Lalchan & Harrilal on the online forums saying that they know the best roti is at “XXXX Roti & Doubles shop”, I’ve tried to apply some systematic criteria to differentiate the roti in Toronto and the GTA.

I’ve differentiated a roti in terms of four main components:

Roti Skin
Overall Combination

For more details on the overall criteria and scale, please see this post.

The general details : There are a number of vegetarian options with fillings like squash, chick peas, spinach, eggplant and the ubiquitous potato. The customer service was good and pleasant, which is more than I usually expect in a Trinidadian establishment.

1. Roti: (35/45 points)

Overall, over two visits and two pairs of roti skins, we noticed a particularly offputting practice. At Mona’s, the roti is wrapped in plastic. This means that it is made in the morning or the prior day. Upon ordering, the roti is then unwrapped from the plastic, put into another plastic container and filled with curry/veggies/meat. The roti is then dressed with some basic pepper sauce and then heated in the microwave. Eating semi-stale roti skins is just not a preference of mine, especially when one considers that the splitpeas used to fill the roti skin is often boiled and fried even before the making of the roti skin itself.

I was not impressed with the size of the roti skin, the taste of the roti skin or even the serving temperature of the roti skin itself. There were separate orders of roti for boneless chicken and boneless goat. More importantly, anyone who serves a roti skin at a lukewarm temperature really doesn’t care about the customer.

2. Curry: (40/55 points)

We sampled the goat and chicken roti. Our visits were at 6pm and to be fair, this close to closing time. That being said the goat meat was unseasoned, heavy with thick dark curry powder, and quite gamey. Typically, when Goat meat is cooked/curried in Trinidad, it is seasoned and washed many times over to get rid of that gamey taste. The manner in which the goat is killed also has a factor in the taste of the meat, since the more blood that remains in the meat, the gamey it will taste. Both reviewers tried the goat roti and it was almost inedible because the frozen, unseasoned goat meat was so gamey on tasting. A truly terrible Goat meat roti and I would not ever order this at Mona’s again or ever recommend this to anyone.

As for the curried chicken/potato, both were decent and tasty. The curried potatoes were decent with a balanced taste, good color and consistency, however it was extremely bland to both reviewers (one of whom has a North American palate, and even to her it was quite bland.) The curried chicken was also quite average, in that it had a balanced taste, hints of fresh seasoning (Culantro/Chadon Beni), good color and consistency, however the curry was rather “raw” on the meat, hinting that the curry powder itself wasn’t cooked enough prior to the chicken being introduced or that there was just too much curry powder in the mix. The main complaint about the serving was that both curries were lukewarm after being served which is a major negative.

Overall, both curries were decent and average.

3. Condiments: (10/20 points)

Trinidadian food is all about the condiments. The reason that doubles aren’t as good in Toronto, is simply because no doubles shop in Toronto will have 5 or more different chutneys (Hot Mango, Sweet Mango, Tamarind, Pommecythere, Chadon Beni aka Green sauce, Kutchela, etc) on demand.

Having the right condiments with a roti also will add significantly to the overall taste of the roti/curry. Hence, if Mona’s had a good “pepper sauce” to compliment the bland curry served up, then we could have given it a better score on the Heat Index, but the pepper sauce served was yet another bland insipid concoction that did nothing for the curry.

Also offering condiments without prompting is a factor, since non Trinidadians will not know what to ask for, or what’s available without prompting from the servers.

4. Overall: (13/20 points)

The overall presentation of the rotis that we got at Mona was typical, except that for the price they charge for a roti is a bit excessive in comparison to other roti shops in Toronto or the GTA. In fact, I would expect that a roti in Scarborough to be cheaper than a roti found in Downtown Toronto. The roti was undersized compared to other roti shops I’ve been to. It also wasn’t a super stuffed roti compared to other rotis I’ve had.

Hence a composite score of all factor, standardized to a score out of 100%

A score of 77%
for a roti is highly average. For all the years that Mona’s has been around and all the publicity that she has on the website, one would expect much better for a supposed “ambassador” for roti in Toronto. I’ve eaten a couple times at Mona’s in Marabella, Trinidad … and it was by far a superior roti, but I suspect because in Trinidad, people actually know roti and wouldn’t tolerate the mundane fare that passes for roti here.

Location: 4810 Sheppard Ave. East Unit 209, Toronto On M1S 4N6
Telephone: 416-412-1200
Store Hours: MON – SAT 11:00am – 8:00pm
Website : Mona’s Roti Shop
External review links: Mona's Roti-Caribbean Food on Restaurantica
Mona's Roti-Caribbean Food on Urbanspoon


No Responses Yet to “Mona’s Roti Shop review : Highly average in Scarborough”

  1. Brad said

    Good review, this place is up the road from me, I’ve never been in, but it sounds like the spice is not too harsh for a white guy.

  2. Aneela said

    Hmmmm…..maybe I need to come up to Toronto and open up a good roti shop yes!!! lol

  3. kumar said

    hey you guys hows everything ? you guys are doing a very good job keep it up

    i ask off you to treat ms jaimatti brasse good to

    Thank you very much

  4. s roshan said

    Your review of Monas roti is a bit unfair, I have eaten in many westindian resturants in the GTA and I found their food superior to most of the resturants in Toronto. Infact I leave the downtown core and drive to Scarborough just to eat there.

  5. Hafeez. said

    Your comments sound like those of a competitor….or paid for by competitors ! You make assumptions about the roti skins….being made the day/night before…..and served as semi stale……you are very wrong . ! You comment on Monas’ in Marabella being better than Torontos’ Monas’. Monas’ Toronto is the original…if you know anything about their history. There isn’t enough time or space for rebuttal here. I would suggest that it is not fair to judge the taste of food….any food,… when ones’ taste buds and olfactory senses are compromised by ….might I suggest…..poor oral hygenic practices…… [ and I am not reffering to this writer.] Despite your unfavourable and malicious comments……Monas’ Roti is by far and away…the Best .

    • Rishi said

      Thanks for your comment Hafeez.
      If you read any part of my blog, you would know that my opinions are purely my own and not compromised by allegiances to any competition in Toronto.
      As for your other allusions, feel free to create your own blog/website and praise the tastes of Mona’s to the heavens, expound on the 100’s of cities you’ve eaten in to compare tastes and the effect of proper oral hygiene on the olfactory sense.

  6. Hafeez. said

    To be fair…..” Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder….”…. ‘ To each…his own..” ” Love is blind…” etc. etc..etc..
    I love goats’ milk…..and blue cheese… it’s an acquired taste.. I cannot stand South Asian food , but that does not mean that it isn’t any good. We all posses palates that are peculiar to ourselves…influenced by…no doubt….our primary source..[ In most cases…our mothers’ cooking.]
    But…back to Roti….I don’t like my Sada rotis thick….and Mona’s Dhalpouries are superior….”melt in your mouth” delightful experience of culinary delectation.
    I apologise for chastizing you for your derogatory comments !

    • Rishi said

      That’s fine.
      Which is why I tried to be as objective as I could be in my roti ranking scale.
      Roti tends to bring out people’s passions.
      If you read all the roti reviews I did … I tried to be as objective as I could in all of them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: