Meet the woman bringing dosas, idlis and other south Indian dishes to Espanola
Restaurant Garuda has a eclectic menu, but the south Indian options are a highlight
Sometimes, the best food discoveries are completely by accident.
A few weeks ago, I was driving with my family back to Sudbury after a weekend in Sault Ste. Marie. It was mid-morning, and my toddler was getting pretty hungry.
So we decided to get off Highway 17 and pop into Espanola to see what we could find for brunch. On the main drag through town, I happened to notice a sign saying "Indian and Canadian cuisine."
See, most Indian restaurants you see outside of the Greater Toronto Area serve north Indian food. So that's what I was expecting to see when I pulled over and pulled up the menu on my phone.
And indeed, Restaurant Garuda had your typical north Indian dishes, like butter chicken and naan.
But, to my shock, I saw some south Indian food as well.
Like dosas - a thin, crispy savoury craped, stuffed with your choice of fillings...
...and idlis - steamed rice cakes served with sambar, a lentil-based stew.
These were foods I grew up with! So we popped in — and items I ordered were pretty great.
To learn how a south Indian restaurant ended up in downtown Espanola, I reached Shanthi Putsala. She's the chef and owns the restaurant with her husband, Naga, who works at the Espanola paper mill.
Turns out its not Shanthi's first south Indian restaurant in northern Ontario.
Tap on the player to hear more.
Restaurant Garuda is located at 111 Centre St. in Espanola.
Northern Nosh is a weekly feature on Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for northern Ontario. If you know a food producer you think would make a great story, get in touch!