We’ve seen the rise of chains like Chipotle and Freshii in recent years, performing extremely-well domestically. Time and time again Canadians have said they are willing to pay that little bit more for quality, customizability and a freshness they can see before their eyes. Although completely different than said chains, The Basil Box incorporates a bit of that spirit into its growingly-popular eat-in/takeaway fixture.
The contemporary and open space located at both Mississauga’s Square One and Downtown Toronto’s Ryerson University carries with it the influence of the street markets of Vietnam and Thailand. One bite of their option-friendly bowls and you will taste the freshness of sustainable produce, fused with the pungence of market spices at whatever level you can tolerate.
The offerings take only a quick introduction to get. You have three bases: jasmine rice, brown rice or cold rice noodles. Then you choose vegetables: roasted green beans, corn, roasted sweet potatoes (most popular) or green/red peppers. Then your proteins: Lemongrass Chicken (yes, by a landslide), Chili-Lime shrimp (great), Five Spice Steak (nice) or Coconut Curry Tofu. Next is the all-important sauce: Tangy Tamarind, Classic Peanut, Sweet Chili Lime, Sizzlin’ Sriracha and Penang Curry. Then you have your texture, with toppings like sesame, peanuts, cilantro, chilis and more. Beware when adding those chilis, they are hotter than you think.
My Lemongrass Chicken bowl was generously-portioned and I have no regrets choosing cold rice noodles. The Chili-Lime sauce was tangy and perfect for those who love Thai food minus the divisive shrimp paste. The texture, a mixture of crunches was pleasant. The heat of the spice offset by the cool of the crunch.
And while you’re there, the fizzy Passionfruit-Lychee Refresher is a must-try. If you like rice pudding or sweet sticky rice, do try their Rice Parfait topped with mango purée.
Affordable, quick and commitment-free in a relaxed atmosphere. This is the future of downtown lunching.
Learn more about The Basil Box here.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
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