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New family-run restaurant offers best of Afghan and Greek cuisine

Located in the Grange Plaza, Royal Cuisine is a restaurant run by a family with a long history in the hospitality business

At Royal Cuisine, good food and hospitality runs in the family.

The Afghan/Greek fusion restaurant is owned and operated by a brother and sister, Toorab Gohozar and Sakina Noori, who each have 10 or more years of restaurant experience.

"My dad, he used to work at a Greek restaurant in Guelph, he used to work there for 16 years as a cook," said Shafieq Gohozar, the oldest son of Toorab,  "and my aunt has 10 years of restaurant experience."

Together with their children, this family-run business aims to impress residents with their food and service.

"It's really fun, everyone tries to help out each other however they can," said Gohozar.

"We want the whole local community to know about us and try our food, I think they would really like our food."

Back in Afghanistan, both families have an uncle who was a chef to former Afghan president, Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai. 

"This really inspired my aunt and my dad to pursue a culinary career," said Gohozar about their uncle, "They used to do big weddings, big, big pots of rice and meat they would feed 500 people parties ... and I guess they would help out and inspired them to start learning as well."

When both families came to Canada in the early 2000s, the two decided to enter into the hospitality business.

"They started working at their respective restaurants and then built their way up."

Gohozar mentions his aunt also operated a successful catering business from 2016 to 2019 called Sakina's Catering. It's now part of their services at Royal Cuisine.

"She was working from home pretty much, catering for weddings, funerals, birthday parties ... all occasions, party wise," he said about her business, "She would make food for the Afghan community, it would be for Toronto, Kitchener, Cambridge, Mississauga, Waterloo and Hamilton."

Gohozar adds Sakina's Catering is known for serving kabuli palaw, a rice dish with carrots and raisins.

"She's known for making very tasty rice, a lot of the Afghan community knows about it."

In March they leased their current location in the Grange Plaza in what was previously home to Hockey Sushi and the family shaped it into their vision for Royal Cuisine. They opened May 12.

"We had to paint the whole place, wash the floors, buy brand new equipment, paint the walls, new sign, new lighting, just build it up from scratch all over again," said Gohozar.

Combining both sibling's culinary backgrounds, Gohozar notes each cuisine has similar techniques for preparing chicken, beef and kabobs, but different sides.

"Kabobs are similar, but they're plated differently," he said, "So one comes with rice and roasted potatoes, and the Afghan meals come with a fresh naan, we make it homemade here with the oven."

Some specials the family recommends are the royal mix, a combination of chicken kabob and kofta kabobs, or garden style shrimp, which is jumbo shrimp in a lemon and garlic sauce. For a family of four, Royal Cuisine offers something called the Royal Family Dinner.

"It has two lamb chops, kofta, chicken soulvaki, beef tikka, Greek salad, moussaka," said Gohozar. "That's the meal that we mix together from the Greek side and the Afghan side ... it becomes a family dinner because it's so big."

"I've seen a lot of people in the comments saying they've had leftovers."

Gohozar also notes Royal Cuisine is a halal restaurant meaning they don't sell pork or alcohol. They do offer a tea area, with plush carpets and pillows for eight to 10 people to relax and enjoy tea. 

While they are not yet offering dine-in service during the pandemic, Royal Cuisine does offer takeout and has its own delivery service within Guelph. The business also offers catering with this area and Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area.

However, when Royal Cuisine is allowed to welcome residents into their doors during the second phase of Ontario's reopening strategy, they will be ready.

"We're just excited to have people in," said Gohozar, "Our goal is get most of Guelph to try it out at least once."

To take a look at their full menu, go to theroyalcuisine.ca.