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Northern Indian cuisine comes to a familiar location in Guelph

The location of one of Guelph's first Indian restaurants, Bombay Cafe, is now home to The Saffron Indian Restaurant

Inderpreet Singh came to Canada as an international student in 2017 and now he has opened up his first business The Saffron Indian Restaurant in Guelph.

The new restaurant at 5 Municipal St. is the same location where Bombay Cafe served Indian food for 29 years. After it closed another restaurant opened up called Biryani Delight and it was there for less than a year.

When Singh got the keys he decided to gut the place, renovate and start fresh. He purchased all the kitchen equipment, bar fridges, counter tops, tables and all.

“So it took around three to four months for all the renovation,” said Singh. The restaurant opened on Sept. 17 and “in a week, I guess we are getting a good response,” he said.

Singh is from Kolkata, India, and after finishing culinary school he wanted to further his education with a masters in the same field but his credentials weren’t recognized here. He ended up with a business administration degree from Conestoga College in Kitchener.

He worked part time as a cook while in school and worked at Saffron Indian Cuisine in Cambridge. The owner of the restaurant helped Singh open his restaurant in Guelph, almost like an extension of the original restaurant with the same menu.

The restaurant specializes in North Indian cuisine offering meat, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes. He wanted the food to appeal to a large range of people. He also knew he should offer mild, medium, spicy options so people with any spice tolerance can eat.

“North India is where basically the main cuisine of all over India,” Singh said.

Singh’s wife Sharandeep Kaur came from India a month ago and is helping to manage the restaurant. Singh also cooks and Kaur serves.

“My dad never wanted me to come to Canada. He always wanted me to take over his business,” said Singh. His family runs a clothing business in India. 

“After I came to Canada after like, two, three years of struggle, I used to think like, I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have come in here,” Singh said. “Because it's not that easy for an international student to come in here and settle.”

He graduated from business administration and eventually found the right spot to open up his first restaurant.

“Basically, from the very first day, I wanted to do my own business,” said Singh.

“Operating your own business in the startup time it's not that easy. But initially, when it gets settled up, it's a good option. It gives you a lot of freedom.”

Singh and Kaur both said their favourite dish on the menu is butter chicken. The restaurant has put in a liquor license application and down the line hopes to serve beer, wine and spirits. 

“We would say just give us a try,” said Singh.