VEDA Fine Indian Takeout
In less than one year, VEDA has managed to start a trend in fashionable Yorkville that is quickly spreading beyond the district. What is it? Fine Indian Takeout.
Sitting just two blocks north of Bloor on Yonge Street, I could easily locate VEDA's bright orange sign and sensational odours from outside their doors. When I entered the minimalist-style resto, I was quickly drawn to the food.
Items on the simple menu include: chickpea and mixed vegetable curries, masoor dal, butter chicken, butter tofu, saag chicken and beef madras. You also get a choice of spinach or basmati rice. In October, they will be starting a dish of the month. The first feature - Matter Paneer.
"Our menu uses very little oil, AAA beef, boneless chicken breasts and quality vegetables," said Jared Ross, owner of VEDA. "Even our rice is the best quality. It costs more than some of our dishes."
I took home the butter chicken, spinach rice and mixed vegetable curry. To my delight, the food was delicious. The chicken was tender and had absorbed the spices of the buttered sauce. I could not tell that the dish was made with little to no oil and with milk, not cream. The mixed vegetables were cooked just right and were not overpowered by the light curried sauce.
I was amazed. I had never tasted healthy Indian before. I wanted to know more about this place, the owner and selfishly, if they were going to be opening up one in my neighbourhood.
Ross started planning his restaurant while studying for his MBA at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
"I spent two years planning the restaurant and creating the recipes," Ross said. "The executive chef, Umair Niazi, perfected them."
So why Indian food? "I hung out with a lot of friends from Rotman's South Asian community. I am also a huge fan of Indian food," he explained. "But the food that was out there did not fit my lifestyle. Nobody was combining healthy Indian and takeout."
While in the planning process, Ross explained to me that one of the most difficult things about starting your own restaurant was trying to figure out who your customers are. "It is not just about the food, you have to be aware of your target market. We figured out that ours is young professionals."
Yorkville was the obvious choice for Ross. "This is where our target market lives. They are looking to lead an active and healthy lifestyle...they also don't have time to cook."
Since opening, they have already developed a devoted clientele. "We have been very lucky. We have very loyal clients who eat at our store several times a week," said Ross. 'We also take feedback from our customers seriously."
That feedback has resulted in a new line of Indian spices and teas that VEDA now sells alongside its popular dishes. "This is sort of a one-stop shop. We will also give you a few tips of where to use the spices in your everyday dishes."
Since opening, Ross has received a number of emails from around the world wondering when he will open a new resto in their city. I asked him the same question. "We want to expand within Toronto in the near future. Long-term, various cities in Canada and the United States." - I am pushing for Y&E!
VEDA Fine Indian Takeout - 874 Yonge Street, 416.840.3132