In the world of ethnic cuisine, Afghani doesn’t usually register high on the radar. With only a smattering of restaurants in Toronto, I was lucky to stumble across one while looking for a completely different restaurant during one day’s aimless lunchtime drive. Located in a small strip mall up near the Science Centre, a bright, clean and sparse decor welcomes the visitor to Bamiyan. With similar names to Indian cuisine, like tikka and lahor it is easy to assume that Afghani cuisine doesn’t differ greatly in the Pan Asian sphere. However, beyond the food names, the similarlities with Indian cuisine end there. While Indian food is cooked in a sauce, Afghani food is all about dry spice. Bamiyan offers several dishes served “kebab style” including chicken tikka, lamb, sirloin steak and ground beef. You can order each dish with rice or without and it always comes accompanied by a side salad and a helping of naan. Afghani naan differs from Indian naan in that it is firmer and breadier than its more floppy namesake. One more difference in the cuisines is that the curries used in Indian food are spicy while Afghani spice is more benign. Bamiyan offers hot or mild sauce with each dish though even the spicy sauce is benign compared to typical Indian fare.
Bamiyam is the perfect spot for a quick atypical lunch. Orders are placed at the counter and you are given a number which is usually ready in short amount of time. Ample seating is available, though the restaurant can fill up at times due to its popularity.