Under the watchful and experienced eye of general manager Karan Bajwa, Nirvana restaurant, in Mississauga, Ont., continues to refine its a la carte menu, adding items from its catering menu — to delicious effect.
A recent visit, for example, unearthed such new, palate-pleasing finds as superb tandoori red snapper, a thick filet that was moist and smoky and carried subtle spicy heat from its yogurt-based marinade. Other new experiences included chili mushrooms. Ordered ‘dry’ (i.e. with spice rub) rather than ‘wet’ (with sauce), the mushrooms wore a perfectly cooked, spicy battered coating, and inside, were tender and earthy. The same spice rub adorned chunks of moist chili fish.
All of these new items are terrific additions to Nirvana’s repertoire.
We also, for the first time, sampled a non-meat biryani, a spicy-good rice casserole loaded with diced veggies. It arrives draped in a sheet of dough that our waiter removes as if opening a precious gift. We decide, on the spot, to add that dish to our lineup of must-have Nirvana dishes.
The aloo gobhi, the classic dish of cauliflower and potatoes in masala gravy zapped with slivered fresh ginger, is as good as ever, and the mashed, spiced eggplant never fails to impress. The Nirvana naan, pillowy soft and covered in coriander and chopped garlic, is irresistible.
For dessert, we opt for mango lassi, that thick, blended yogurt drink that is the perfect way to end off a spicy, rich Nirvana feast.
A glassed-in tandoor kitchen highlights a spacious, high-ceilinged room.
The restaurant, which seats 220 people, is available for group buyout. A private room seats 40.
Nirvana also offers meeting and event catering (featuring a portable, charcoal-fired tandoor oven) for up to 1,000 people.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,300 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.