Updated: Dec 8, 2021
Parkway mall is one of "those malls." A quiet mall you may visit to use the bank or stop at the grocery store that often anchors one end. They are filled with stores that few people seem to visit and you can't help but wonder how they stay open with the dwindling foot traffic. These malls were a popular developers trend that Toronto fell in love with in the 50's and now there are a slew of these quiet run down malls dying a slow death across the city's suburbs. For every successful, relevant mall like Scarborough Town Centre or Yorkdale there are three or four Parkways, Cedarbraes or Malvern Malls that are slowly fading away and in dire need of modern redevelopment.
Parkway has been in a state of construction for what seems like forever. Not Eglinton Crosstown forever, but long enough. Maybe these renovations will be enough to revitalize this shopping relic but in the mean time it makes it an even less appealing place to visit. Which is a shame because the food court may feature one of the best and most unique food stalls in the city.
I noticed Warung Kampung on a grocery stop I made a few months ago.
"As if you were in Indonesia", its sign read. It seemed like something more interesting than the generic food court fare, mind you about half of the food court stalls are currently vacant so it should not be that hard to stand out. With the incredible array of food that we have available in Toronto, Indonesian food is not something you see a lot of so this place really peaked my interest.
Warung Kampung translates to something along the lines of small village shop according to their website and it has a very welcoming feel that fits that description...at least as welcoming as a food court stall bathed in fluorescent lighting can feel. The menu consists of four meals and one dessert.
For this initial visit I went with the Special Noodle, a dry noodle bowl with seasoned bits of moist dark meat chicken, mushroom, green onion and bok choy. It also came with a small meatball soup and two crispy chicken stuffed fried wontons. They added an optional chilli sambal on the side that packed some serious heat. The little bit I mixed into my noodles and soup went a long way.
The noodles had the perfect amount of chew to them and the whole dish had a great depth of flavours even before I mixed in some sambal. I also appreciated the generous amount of chicken mixed into the dish and all of the elements were in perfect proportion. The sides were solid as well. The meatballs were tasty and the broth they floated in was flavourful. The crispy wontons surprised me when I bit into them to find some chicken and green onion hiding in pockets under the crunchy exterior. I love surprises like that.
The rest of the menu looks just as good with meals centred around fried chicken, beef rendang and chicken satay.
This late afternoon trip to the Parkway Mall food court has given me new hope. I hope this long coming renovation gives Warung Kampung the surroundings that beautiful food like this deserves and even more so, I hope that the dreary mall and surrounding construction doesn't stop people from visiting this gem.
Inside the Parkway Mall Food Court
85 Ellesmere Rd, Scarborough, ON