Indian Food is traditionally perceived as oily and with limited options for those with special dietary requirements. We were pleasantly surprised by Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen that offers a healthier Indian menu with a variety of options for your taste buds and lifestyle needs. All of the food is made with fresh ingredients and minimum oil, resulting in lower fat and less sodium options. Throughout the menu, you will find gluten free, vegan, halal and Ocean Wise seafood options clearly labeled. As well, Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen is happy to make custom changes to menu items that you desire!
Chef Siddhartha @ Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen
History of the place
In the fall of 2011, Chef Siddhartha Choudhary took over the space that was once called Corner Tandoori on Commercial Drive. He spent a few months testing new menu items and listening to what the community wanted to eat in the area. The customers wanted to see a more upscale modern restaurant in this area with healthy options as well. On the Feb 14, 2012, the space re-opened as Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen with a new look and updated menu. The first thing you will notice when visiting Siddhartha’s is the beautiful mural painted on the outside of restaurant on McSpadden Avenue and Commercial Drive.
Tell us about the mural outside:
“I wanted a great piece of artwork outside. Initially I wanted to divide the wall into 7 or 8 different pieces and run a community competition. After taking some advice from some regulars, I decided to have a large mural that included Buddha and nice message that is easy to read from passing cars. The artist is actually someone who lives in the area and came to eat at my restaurant. I wanted to showcase art of someone from the community.”
What was your vision for this space?
“I’ve been a chef for over 12 years working in countries such as India, England, Ireland, and Canada. I wanted to open a space that the customers would come back for the food and showcase traditional values of nurture and care in modern taste buds surrounding a community. I found that Commercial Drive was the perfect area for this because the people here like to dine out, relax with friends and just be themselves. I wanted to see the space as somewhere where people can come relax and enjoy food.“
To match the present pace of contemporary life and demands of diverse healthy paths, Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen commits to traditional gluten free, vegetarian preparations and buying only Ocean Wise certified seafood and halal meats. Chef Siddhartha can often be seen purchasing his ingredients from local produce stores in the community.
How did existing and new customers respond to the changes in the menu?
“I did not get any objections to the new menu; the price range ($10-$15) that we have here is still affordable. On top of that, I offer fresh items and lots of healthy options. The customers enjoy the improved ambiance here and they like to sit down and eat here. Unlike other Indian restaurants, I have lots of salads and seafood options as well. Soon, I will be coming out with a weekend brunch menu.”
The décor is a mix between modern contemporary and traditional Indian. Beautiful paintings of Buddha hang on the wall and soft down tempo Indian electronic music sets the mood.
Tell us about your healthier options?
“I wanted to take traditional Indian food and make it more presentable. Presentation is my specialty. When I came to Canada I realize that especially here in Vancouver this is a city where a “healthy revolution” is going on. People really want to eat healthy food. Most of my salads and soups have vegan options and low in fat. I changed the way I cook my chicken and lamb to ensure that it was low in fat. The meats are cooked in a pot (braising or roasting) in their natural fat to avoid any additional fats or oils. This saves money too.”
How is your food “fresh”?
“Fresh doesn’t mean that I’ve gone to the farms and met the farmers. We recognize “fresh” as a method of cooking. From procuring the produce in the morning, we prepare and cook our sauces fresh everyday before being served to our customers. Everything is made from scratch. We use seasonal vegetables that are locally grown and choose from the latest Ocean Wise catches – this means we adapt and update our menus regularly. Due to the lack of storage space in our kitchen, we only prepare what we know we will sell on that day. My desserts are almost always sold out daily and butter chicken is sometimes made twice in a day.”
Dessert: Ras Malai – fresh cottage cheese simmered in coconut milk
Thanks again to Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen for having the CarrotLines team. Visit the newly renovated space for yourself – you’ll be pleasantly surprised with their lighter and tasty options.