If you’ve lived your life without ever experiencing the subtle fragrance, brightness and memorable sweet heat of an award-winning Japanese curry, things are about to change. Recently opened on Bloor Street West, Maji Curry brings Japan’s favourite curry to the streets of Toronto.
A dish that’s as ubiquitous in Japan as burgers and fries are here, Japanese curry can be punishingly hot or mild, but is always deeply comforting. With a luscious, velvety sauce and a range of options to drown in it (from karaage to katsu, vegetables to omelets) it’s a choose-your-own-adventure meal that’s hearty, satisfying and made for diners of all ages.
Founded by Ken Takagi, in 2018, Maji Curry first opened its doors in Tokyo’s Kanda Jinbocho district — an area that the company says is known popularly as “the holy land of curry.” Instead of shying away from competition, Takagi faced it head on, with a recipe he researched for a decade before boldly revealing it to a very discerning public.
The result? Long lines soon led to a multitude of fervent Maji Curry followers. Soon after, the newcomer took home the top prize in Japan’s Kanda Curry Championship. Chosen as the winner by thousands of tasters, the prize solidified the restaurant’s place of honour in Japan’s heated curry wars. To quiet any doubters, in 2022, Maji Curry won the Kanda Curry Championship again.
Maji Curry now operates store in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, the U.S. and, as of recently, Toronto, Canada. The latest, is a modern, efficient spot offering diners the full curry experience. Though, to cater to local preferences, the team’s signature, beef-based sauce leans slightly more savoury compared to its sweeter Japanese cousin, it’s still profoundly spiced with a round, rich texture and balance of flavours. It’s a sauce one could eat on cardboard and still enjoy.
The restaurant’s concise menu centres on its superstar sauce, in dishes ranging from Fried Prawn Curry to Eggplant Curry, and more. Select the one that calls your name, the size your day demands, and a spice level — from standard to the somewhat terrifying Level 10. From there, all that’s left to do is to settle into a cozy corner, and dive into every gravy-soaked bite.
It’s hard to devote much attention to salads and sides with curries waiting but they’re also on offer. Happily, Maji Curry is a place that understands that the true merits of any salad lie squarely in its crispy, scrumptious, salty toppings. There are green and Caesar options, but it’s the ones neatly garnished with pork or chicken cutlets or karaage that you’ll want by your side.
Signature menu items include Omelet Curry with Pork Cutlet and Omelet Curry with Hamburger Steak, served with or without creamy cheese sauce. The first, partners the joy of crunchy, fatty pork with a fluffy, rice-filled egg pillow. Seasoned beef patty, meanwhile, has a gentler texture but all the meaty, savoury goodness carnivores crave.
Omnivores, meanwhile, will swoon at Beef and Spinach Curry, a complete meal that combines tender cubes of seasoned beef with sautéed greens.
Imported cold drinks, like Calpico and Ramune, temper the heat and heft of Maji Curry’s dishes. Needless to say, ending the meal with mochi ice cream has a similarly sweet effect.
Serving a celebrated version of an iconic dish, Maji Curry delivers a cultural experience on every plate. Instead of travelling the world in search of the perfect Japanese curry, you can thank founder Ken Takagi for putting in the time, then bringing his award-winning creations here.