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Punjabi Restaurant spices up local food scene

Experienced restauranteur hopes to teach skills to younger staff

Food options in Timmins just got a little spicier.

The Punjabi Restaurant opened for business today (Monday, May 15), directly across from city hall on Algonquin Boulevard. It is owned by Kanwaljit Kaur Bains and her husband Bahadur Singh Bains, with Kanwaljit operating the restaurant.

“We felt there was a need for a Punjabi Restaurant here. And the spicy food,” she said. “We saw the need now that the Punjabi community, and the Indian community, is growing in Timmins. We do need the flavours here as well.”

The flavours available at The Punjabi Restaurant will help expand the pallet of the city to reflect its growing diversity.

“Our menu is a traditional Punjabi menu,” Bains said. “The majority of the food is from India. The spices are the main thing that we have. Our Indian spices are known throughout the world.”

There are appetizers, main dishes, sides, desserts and more available on the menu.

“Usually, the snack food is like samosas, pakoras and the sweets are the milk sweets, they’re very popular,” she said. “Also, this restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant, so we have the paneer, the butter paneer, we have the mixed vegetable, we have the panni puri, that’s very traditional to us. We have the black lentil soup we call dahl.

“Curry is one of our specialty dishes.”

There are a number of other specialty dishes available on the menu.

Sarson ka Saag with Makki ki roti is curried rapini and mustard leaves served with two hand-rolled, corn-flour flatbread and homemade white butter. Curry and Chawal is a thick tangy gravy made with yogurt and chickpea flour containing vegetable pakoras.

For customers unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, there are a few other options.

Fresh-cut fries, green salads, mozzarella sticks and mushroom caps are also available. Dessert options include ice cream and some specialties.

Chilled Rasmalai is cottage cheese sponge cake soaked in creamy, cardamom-flavoured milk. Gulab Jamun is milk fritters soaked in rose-scented syrup.Gajar ka Halwa is a red carrot sweet pudding.

Bains is an experienced restaurant owner. She wants to teach young people the skills of Punjabi cooking.

“I used to own a restaurant in Mactier, up near Parry Sound,” she said. “I had the restaurant for 10 years. I do have the restaurant background.

“But my intentions here are to teach the young children. Basically, I have all students here and I will be teaching them all my skills. This way, they can also get the hands-on experience and be successful in their career if they choose the same profession.”

There will be an opportunity for people to get some Punjabi Restaurant flavours outside. It’s the urban experience one would expect strolling through a larger city.

“We are also preparing a street cart, outside the restaurant,” she said. “It will be street food from 6-9 or 7-10 p.m., we have yet to decide. That’s going to be just finger foods outside, just to give you a taste when you go out for a walk.”

Bains hopes that people from all walks of life will experience the Punjabi Restaurant, even if they are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine.

“The only thing I can tell them is they have to come and try it,” she said. “We would like everyone to come and try us. Give us a chance and hopefully you’ll keep coming back.”

The Punjabi Restaurant is located at 211 Algonquin Blvd. E. and can be reached at 705-288-7708. It is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. A website will also be launched soon at