The Peninsula News Review’s Business Profiles edition hits the streets on Nov. 8. This one of four stories coming out this week from that special publication.
Sahej Singh is taking a chance on Sidney and has opened the community’s first Indian cafe/restaurant on Bevan Avenue at Fifth Street.
Singh is a newcomer to Canada who has been in this country for a little more than seven months — and he came with a plan. Working with his wife Nav Preed, he used his family’s traditional spices and recipes to create gluten free and vegetarian Indian dishes from his home in Punjab, India. He learned to cook by watching his family, who operated restaurants all their lives.
“Sidney didn’t have (an Indian restaurant) and all I needed for my idea was a good location,” he said. “There are already a lot of Indian restaurants in (downtown) Victoria and since I live in Sidney, it looked like the right place.”
The cafe’s location on Bevan has great visibility, Singh said, and since he opened, foot traffic has increased steadily.
“It’s getting busier every day.
“I always kept an eye on how my family was cooking back home in India,” he continued.”That’s where I learned to cook and work (in the restaurant business).”
He added it’s been great to be able to cook with his wife in their commercial kitchen, creating vegetarian dishes, from pakora to spring rolls and more. He said they offer good, fresh food, like him family used to make back home.
Singh added that so far, Sidney has been good to him and the people who come into his cafe have been very friendly.
Still, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Singh maintains connections to his native India, where he contributes to organization that take care of street dogs. He said he loves dogs and has wanted to help them all his life — and will keep doing so now that he’s moved to Canada.
The Indian Cafe is open 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday — and Singh said he hopes to grow, after taking those first small steps to get a new business off the ground.