A hobby becomes an 'A-plus' restaurant at Mian's in Sydney

The family-run restaurant Mian's has only just opened but already Cape Bretoners are lining up to get their fill of Indian cuisine.

'Thank God, he makes all days busy,' says chef at new Indian restaurant doing brisk business

Mian Ahmad is the head chef and owner of the restaurant that bears his name in Sydney. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

There's a hunger for Indian food in Sydney, N.S., if the first week of business for a new George Street restaurant is any indication.

Mian's is run by a Pakistani family who moved to the island in 2012. The husband, wife and their three adult children all work there and their Indian cuisine is very much in demand. "The first day we had to close at 4 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.," said Athar Ahmad.

Siblings Athar (left), Sehrich and Aamir Ahmad all work at Mian's. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Ahmad and his brother, Aamir, both studied business at Nova Scotia Community College in Sydney. Athar says their father's English isn't great, but his cooking certainly is, so they hatched a plan.

"We thought we could take those skills and build a business plan for us," said Athar. "We've been working for this since one year."

The restaurant is named after their father, Mian. He's thrilled.

'My hobby before, now is my business'

"I love that I make food," said Mian. "My hobby before, now is my business. I make food very sincerely, very carefully."

Before opening the restaurant, they sold their food at flea markets and farmers markets across the province. Sehrich Ahmad waits the tables and her mom, Samina, helps with the cooking.

The place is a hit with Evelyn and Gordon Sampson of North Sydney, who stopped in for lunch while running errands.

"We love the diversity, we like different nationality foods," said Evelyn.

"We'll be back here for sure," said Gordon. "I'd say A-plus. I don't usually give an A-plus, but this time I do."

Gordon and Evelyn Sampson say Mian's is a welcome addition to the growing list of ethnic food options in Sydney. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Mian's joins the growing list of diverse cuisine options on Cape Breton, including Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. 

Athar Ahmad said it's been busier than they expected. "We're already thinking of expanding — probably going to need a bigger place and more people to work," he said. "We're short-staffed now. It's [our] fourth day."

A dream come true

India native David Mal said the cooking got his approval. "That's my kind of food," said Mal. "It's simple, not too spicy. This was needed, much needed."

Mian said it was always a dream to open his own restaurant.

"I'm very excited now, you know. Thank God, he makes all days busy."

About the Author

Norma Jean MacPhee


From people around the corner to those around the world, Norma Jean MacPhee has more than a decade of experience telling their stories on the radio, TV and online.