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Monday, August 19, 2019

Firing up the tandoor in a first for Elmira

Expanding on Fergus success, owner knows what to expect with new location

Diversity comes in a variety of flavours, literally in the case of Elmira’s newest restaurant, which offers authentic Indian cuisine.

The first of its kind in town, the Tandoori Grill on Arthur Street offers patrons a cozy ambiance along with a variety of lunch and dinner options, including seafood, chicken, vegetarian and lamb and beef dishes. The venture is nothing new to owner Mohammed Haque, having operated another Tandoori Grill in Fergus for the past 15 years.

“We know the same kind of demographic, wanting the same kind of food,” said Haque, of the choice of Elmira for the latest location. “There’s a strong demand for fine Indian cuisine.”

The restaurant officially opened in the late fall, and has transitioned seamlessly into Elmira over the past few months. Haque says it was a thought-out decision based on his experience with the original location, noting his strong passion for the industry.

“It’s not out of a whim that we are opening a restaurant,” said Haque. “It’s not something like that. It’s a truly Indian culinary presentation in a commercial manner.”

One of their popular menu items is the butter chicken – boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, barbecued in a tandoor (a traditional clay oven) and cooked with creamy tomato gravy and butter.

“All the ingredients are supplied from Toronto. It’s very quality, A-grade supplier meat,” said Haque. “We use local vegetables and try to involve the local people and the economy.”

Another unique menu item is the flavourful, oven-baked naan flatbread, a popular dish in Asian, Indian and Caribbean cuisine. Tandoori’s is made of milk, sugar, Canadian flour and salt and topped with a brush of butter.

“It’s a very unique way of making bread,” said Haque. “It’s all hand-crafted. We don’t use any dough-making, no additives whatsoever. What’s unique about this restaurant is that we don’t use any razor for this bread. You’ll find that is exceptional; it makes it dense and fluffy, and easy to handle and cook. It creates a thicker, denser bread. You can easily tell it apart from any other places.”

Other features include hot beverages and desserts both in traditional and Indian style. There is masala chai, for instance, a traditional Indian tea made with milk, cardamom and cinnamon.

There are also multiple dessert options for those looking to venture out. A unique Indian-style dessert is the gulab jamun, made of skimmed milk, flour and dipped in sugar syrup for a sweet treat. For those looking for more traditional dessert options, there is also cheesecake with ice cream and Island Way sorbet available.

Salads, soups, biryani dishes, soft drinks, house wines, and beer is also on tap at the location. Haque is confident that the restaurant will be a hit in town.

“Over the last 15 years with the experience in Fergus, I can tell you that it’s very well-liked,” said Haque. “We have a lot of regular customers.

“We advise [making] a reservation, especially on the weekends,” said Haque. “Since it’s a limited number of seats, takeout is an option. That is a strong part of the business. And takeout have special foods; so each and every meat dish comes with rice or naan, something like that. All the meat dishes come with rice or naan.”

You can find the new location at 16 Arthur St. S. in Elmira or online.

Veronica Reiner
Veronica Reinerhttp://www.observerxtra.com
Veronica Reiner is a Reporter Photographer for The Observer.

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