Sanjeev Kapoor is perhaps the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine today. Chef extraordinaire, TV show host, author of best-selling cookbooks, restaurant consultant, creator of food products and culinary award winner, Kapoor sums up his culinary philosophy in four words: “Eat Well. Live Well.”
At Khazana, his 7,000-sq. ft. restaurant in Brampton, northwest of Toronto (his first Canadian location, it opened in December 2014), customers do, indeed, eat well.
A couple of vegetable dishes illustrate this deliciously: There’s Lalla mussa dal, black lentils cooked for 10 hours until they’re silky, buttery, elegant; and shaam savera, spinach dumplings stuffed with mild paneer cheese and floating in rich tomato gravy.
Appetizers, meanwhile, bring a trio of first-rate tandoor-cooked items: tender prawns in rich yogurt marinade; soft, intensely flavoured lamb chops; moist salmon.
Among main-course proteins, there is much to admire, too. Coconut-scented curry enrobes chunks of moist haddock, while biryani brings nuggets of supremely tender lamb in deftly spiced rice. Inspired by a renowned roadside restaurant on the Ambala-Delhi highway, in India, a dish of supremely moist chicken, cooked in a light but spicy onion gravy, pleases mightily.
Desserts continue the kitchen’s hot streak. A stuffing and garnish of rose petals adds fragrant sweetness to gulab jamun, those irresistible soft balls of deep-fried dough made from milk-solids. Rosewater garnishes mint-inflected kulfi (India’s denser, richer version of ice cream). Best-in-show, however, goes to my favourite of all Indian desserts, shredded, sweetened carrot cooked in milk and cream and garnished with chopped nuts and fragrant spices.
Outfitted with modern fixtures, a palette of understated grey, hardwood floors and padded booths, the spacious white-tablecloth room is tranquil and stylish.
Full buyouts will be considered for the restaurant, which seats 225 people. A private dining room seats 25.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued almost 1,000 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.