Culture | Giving the students what they want

Redpath shawarma server moves his beacon of light to St. Laurent

Eating in Redpath is often an unsatisfying experience. One must either choose to brave the long lines at Tim Horton’s for a mere doughnut and coffee, or opt for pizza that often leaves much to be desired. However, once, there was another option. One man, Siddiq Akbar, decided to offer students a different kind of food. For some, his shwarma stand became a beacon of light within the depths of Redpath, providing a tasty and relatively balanced meal for hungry students.

After beginning in 2004 at New Rez, Akbar has decided to open his own restaurant. Chef Guru opened last Friday and is located just south of St. Laurent and Rachel. He hopes he can corner the student market in the area by offering cheap food that is also freshly made.

“Many of Montreal’s fast food restaurants offer food that is tasteless and not fresh,” he says. “I will make my food fresh, not use sauces from a can. By making sauces and food fresh, it allows for more flavour.”

His restaurant will sell mostly Indian food but also variety of other South and East Asian cuisine, offering dishes such as naan bread, tandoori chicken, samosas, and – his own creation – fish and chips infused with an assortment of spices. The meals will sell from between $8-10, with a chicken curry lunch special for $6 as his special promotion.

Yet part of Akbar’s plans for the restaurant will be continued experimentation with different cuisines. “It is something I am passionate about. I love to create new dishes and try out new ideas. I want to fuse dishes from different cultures to create new foods for my restaurant.”

Ultimately, opening a new restaurant can often be a difficult task, but Akbar says he is not too concerned. He already opened two in his native Pakistan, and is confident that this one will be a success as well. He believes that he knows what students are looking for in a restaurant. “Students want tasty food and they want it for cheap. I am confident that once people have my food, they will want to return.”

Chef Guru is located at 4120 St-Laurent.


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