Delivery for Diwali: Suresh's picks for fine dining and gelato at home
Find these spots on Instagram and have them deliver to your door — some plating required
Diwali is the celebration of new beginnings, the triumph of light and good over dark and evil. I think we can all feel that it's really universal right now.
When I ran food tours before the pandemic, the one I would run around Diwali was always the most popular. I would take people through the suburbs and show them how different communities celebrated at restaurants in Brampton, Scarborough and Ajax.
What [the restaurants] would do is they would empty out their dining rooms and they would build these really large pyramids of mithai — this large category of Indian sweets. Dozens of brightly coloured versions were made with nuts and condensed milk and sugar. So you'd find these families, dozens of families, coming in, lining up, picking up boxes of mithai and food. And they would go into the parking lot and celebrate — almost like tailgating. But now with COVID, there are no food stores and no gatherings.
So I wanted to kind of share ways you can bring Diwali home.
Curryish, by chef Miheer Shete
This is a virtual delivery service. We can spend an entire show talking about how chefs and cooks have tried new things this year and innovated in the restaurant industry with COVID. One of the things that I've noticed the most the most is that chefs are taking to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to launch new food businesses, and this is a great example.
This place is called Curryish, and the chef running it is Miheer Shete.
He reveals a new menu every week online, usually four or five courses. You order it and then he delivers it to you on the weekend.
Ismaila Alfa: What was he doing before?
So Miheer is still the chef de cuisine at Jump Restaurant, which is this iconic restaurant in the financial district. He was born in Mumbai, trained as a classic chef there when he was 18, bounced around the world working in Michelin starred restaurants in London and in Memphis, eventually arrived in Canada in 2009, kind of right when we were going through this Toronto dining renaissance.
And he says he instantly felt welcome in this country. There's something he said that really struck a chord with me: "Prior to coming to Canada, I felt a lot of discrimination and racism in the kitchens I worked in, whether in the U.S. or the U.K. But here I felt an embrace I didn't know existed."
Oh, that you know, that makes makes me sit up a little taller as a Canadian. So with that background and a name like Curryish, what does he bring to the food?
So this week, he's got a Diwali menu going. On the menu are familiar dishes like aloo chaat, which is typically this Indian street food where pieces of potatoes are fried with spices and served with chutney, and it's usually served in a little bowl.
He's kind of created a plated version of that, where he's got these whole spice potatoes that are tossed with a tamarind chutney and yogurt and these pickled peppers.
Sounds like a nice mix of sweet and sour here.
Yeah, very vibrant. All his cooking has a freshness to it that you don't normally get with restaurant dishes or takeout.
There's a duck on the menu, which is kind of slowly cooked in ghee and then it's served with this wonderfully rich foie gras curry. There is also catfish on the menu, which is marinated in this mango masala called achari. Just wonderful.
The food is seasoned and packaged and he provides instructions on how you can finish the dishes at home and plate it at home. It's very simple and it's interactive, so it's a great way to get your immediate family or your partner involved.
Instructions are simple, you know. You turn on the oven to a certain timer for all the dishes, you put the duck in, you finish the duck by pouring the curry over it when you serve it.
Where can people find out more about the food?
He announces a new menu every Monday and then you order it by Friday and he delivers it on the weekend. (The website is linked in the external links section of this story, or you can find it on Instagram @curryishh.)
For a sweet finish, why not some South Asian gelato?
OK, so let's get back to the idea of desserts here, too, because I'm hung up on that.
I can't sign off without making this recommendation. It's become an obsession of mine. There is a very talented Tamil Sri Lankan chef named Roshan Kanagarajah.
Earlier this year, he launched a gelato brand called Kṣīra and he makes Indian-style ice creams and gelato using sort of very familiar classic South Asian desserts, like a rose sherbet gelato or watalappam gelato.
You don't find this in any restaurants. He's also using Instagram. You basically go to his handle, which is @ksiragelato, and then you order it and you pick it up over the weekend.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
For more of Suresh's picks, check out the map below.