Afghan Village Bakery
Afghan Village Bakery just moved into its new digs and it's already having trouble keeping up with demand. The family-run bakery, which left an outward-facing unit in a plaza at Don Mills and Gateway Boulevard in favour of a more concealed spot, seems to be flourishing despite its lack of immediate visibility.
"It's the Sunny Foodmart," Sanam says, referring to the adjacent grocery store. "It's so busy here because of the market, and that's good for us." Sanam is just one of the many members of the Nouri family who operate this bakery, as well as Afghan Village Restaurant, which operates out of a neighbouring space.
Afghan Village Bakery is now four years old and pumping out naan in response to furious need. Or should that be, "knead?" The space is open-concept and minimally adorned, with a few shelves of rice, sweets, and nuts and dried fruit. There are no tables or seating — just a few wire racks and a counter with a scale.
Sanam's brother-in-law is the one typically working in the bakery, pounding out dough to make white and brown naan ($1.25). "It's all my brother-in-law," Sanam replies when I ask her about the bakery secret. "He has 25 years of baking experience, and his father and grandfather were bakers as well." The restaurant, on the other hand, is Sanam's mother's domain, with the rest of the family's help to cook up hot shawarma, kebabs, and its specialty ashak.
Naan is by far the best seller at Afghan Village Bakery, with more than 700 going out the door each day. But for Afghan baked goods that are a little sweeter, the bakery also offers baklava, jalebi and roat, which are all sold by weight ($4.99). Everything is prepared on-site, by hand, and with natural ingredients.
"This is a family business," Sanam continues. "So we like to do what we can for families; we give a 10 per cent discount on all family orders." The bakery also does catering and deliveries for parties and special events.
Photos by Morris Lum