Under the meticulous direction of general manager Karan Bajwa, the Northern Indian menu at Nirvana restaurant, in Mississauga, Ont., continues to evolve.
Exhibit A — Plump, moist and smoky tandoor-cooked drumsticks, coloured a deep red from their spicy yogurt marinade. Along with another new dish, tangri kebab (chicken drumsticks stuffed with minced chicken, almonds, raisins and cashews), the tandoori drumsticks are a must-try dish.
Also new to the menu is moist chunks of chicken subtly fragrant with honey and garlic (this kitchen is an absolute whiz with chicken!).
Corn isn’t often seen on Indian menus, which makes Nirvana’s crispy battered kernels, tossed with chilli and other spices, such a welcome treat.
Tandoori snapper is delicate and smoky, while lamb bhuna brings tender chunks of meat in rich, onion-inflected gravy.
Nirvana’s veggie dishes are as terrific as ever: velvety dal handy, yellow lentils fragrant with cumin; tandoor-cooked mashed eggplant jazzed with tomatoes, onions, green peas and green chiles; and the GTA’s best aloo gobhi, cauliflower and potatoes in masala gravy zapped with slivered fresh ginger.
End with pistachio kulfi, India’s richer version of ice cream; or ras malai, delicate cheese dumplings nestled in cardamom-scented milk cream.
Manned by a multitasking chef, the glassed-in tandoor kitchen punctuates Nirvana’s 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 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,400 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.