Farzi Café is the first North American location for a popular series of Indian restaurants.
Set in the Food District at Square One Shopping Centre, Farzi Café Canada joins more than 19 other locations around the world, including an outpost in London, England that was recently featured in the prestigious Michelin Guide.
Led by Zorawar Kalra, a MasterChef India judge and founder of the hospitality group behind the restaurant, Massive Restaurants, Farzi Café looks to bring a creative approach to traditional Indian cuisine. “It’s a lot of marrying the very new and the very cutting edge with a very old,” says Kalra.
With creative cocktails and elaborate presentations, Farzi Café is a far cry from the typical restaurant you might find in a shopping centre.
Inventive plating is a focus of the food menu, with many dishes incorporating elements like foam or smoke or arriving at the table in unusual vessels. “The ethos of the food remains authentic Indian food but with a global twist and an injection of boldness,” says Kalra.
The Butter Chicken Bao, for example, features tender pieces of chicken sandwiched in steamed buns and served in a toy truck.
The Tempura Fried Prawns are seasoned with chili mayo and garnished with dollops of airy, lemon-chili foam. “I firmly believe that you eat with your eyes first,” says Kalra.
The Chicken Tikka Masala is presented in a pebble-like bowl alongside warm wedges of cheese naan.
The Mutton Irrachi Pepper Fry features lamb flavoured in a rich black pepper and coconut sauce.
The Ras Malai Tres Leches is an example of Farzi Café’s global influences, with the restaurant incorporating saffron and pistachio condensed milk to add a fusion spin to the Mexican dessert.
The drinks menu at Farzi takes a cue from the mixology program at the chain’s London location. Cocktails mirror the showy presentation favoured by the food menu, incorporating unusual glassware and lengthy ingredient lists of tinctures, herbs and spices.
“The amount of time that our chefs take to prepare dishes, our bartenders actually need the same or even more time to prepare the mis en place for the cocktails,” explains Kalra. “They’re painstaking but they’re very good.”
One of the most interesting sections of the cocktail menu features drinks inspired by zodiac signs. “The goal is to introduce a level of playfulness,” says Kalra.
The Cut of Karka, for example, is made for diners under the Cancer sign. It draws inspiration from the tropic of cancer latitude line, which cuts through Mexico, for its spirit bases of mezcal and tequila.
The Simha Spritz, made for Leos, is a blend of vodka, herbaceous whiskey, mango, bergamot, bitter melon and prosecco with a holy basil tincture.
The drinks menu also includes a sizeable selection of mostly New World wines, many of which are available by the glass, as well as draught and bottled beer.
Farzi Café’s stylish dining room banishes any potential “eating-in-the-mall” vibes. The focal point is the curved main bar, which is backed by a deep green accent wall decorated with backlit bottles.
Constellation-style pendant lights hang overhead and the space is accented with wrought iron and plenty of plant-life. In addition to the 4,000-square foot dining room, there’s a large outdoor patio that diners can take advantage of when the weather warms up. “It’s a luxurious ambience but still very warm,” says Kalra.
Farzi Café Canada is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Plans for additional North American locations are already in the works.