A former chef of luxury five-star hotels is cooking up a storm of Indian comfort food in Parkdale.
After graduating from the Food Craft Institute in 1990, the foremost cooking school in South India, Benjamin Nanneti worked at Taj Coromandel (Chennai) and Taj Residency(Vishakhapatnam) – both five-star luxury hotels – with jobs for Carnival Cruises and in Connecticut, and throughout the States that followed.
He moved to Canada in 2001 and worked first crew at The Sheraton Hotel in Toronto for eight years.
Along with wife Guna, his dream was to open his own restaurant. Twelve years after arriving in Canada, his wish was granted with Glory of India Roti Cuisine.
Authentic Indian comfort food
The small restaurant in Parkdale may not be big or grand, but this “real Indian food,” as Guna describes it, is made from scratch, from old recipes from Benjamin’s time at the Taj.
This Indian comfort fare is made authentically – items are cooked in a tandoor oven, not just smothered in a tandoori flavoured sauce. Lots of freshly ground spices are used and all produce is bought from local farms. Samosas and pakoras are not brought in frozen, but made from scratch and then fried to order. Dishes come out hot and fresh, boasting tender meats and well-spiced slow-cooked veg.
The menu is long and varied – select from soups, salads, sides, breads, rotis, rice, vegetarian dishes, chicken, lamb, beef, goat (bone-in), fish, shrimp, biryani, dosas, thalis, chutneys and dessert.
There is no particular region featured in Ben’s menu. Instead, it’s a celebration of the entire country –Madras from Goa, Punjabi Saag Paneer, etc. He’s particularly famous for his biryanis, made-from-scratch dosas and rice pudding.
Many dishes are naturally vegan, as milk, yogurt and butter are not used much in South India.
Portions are big (the samosas are practically panzerotti size) and prices are insanely affordable. Because a ton of freshly ground spices are used (ginger, cardamom, garlic), dishes might seem more medium than mildly spiced, so be sure to ask for very mild if you’re sensitive to spicy fare.
Parkdale isn’t known for fancy restaurants, but this casual spot is clean and bright, and service is friendly. And plastic cutlery and containers are for takeout only. Real plateware and utensils are furnished should you wish to dine-in.
Glory of India Roti Cuisine may not be fancy and flashy, but it does have homemade food made from the heart, by someone that learned how to cook authentic Indian fare at some of the fanciest hotels in the world.
That and the inexpensive price? It’s a no-brainer.
Glory of India Roti Cuisine (1407 Queen St. W.) is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends (no alcohol on premises).
There’s room for 35 guests in the dining room. Takeout, delivery and catering are also available.
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