Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum

Diwan is a beautifully designed restaurant inside the architecturally stunning Aga Khan Museum at Don Mills. The restaurant is accessible by TTC or vehicle (there is a flat parking fee of $10), and is located to the right of the entrance of the museum. Since late last year, the kitchen has been headed by celebrity chef, Mark McEwan, who is known for his culinary skills and established restaurants such as North 44, ByMark, One, and more. McEwan's culinary background isn't Middle Eastern food, but he does a great job of executing a menu that highlights the bold flavors that this type of cuisine is known for. They don't claim to be authentic, but the food is put together with precision and great care that complements the museum. Diwan is open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.




Diwan's decor evokes the luxury of a 19th century private Syrian home, and its menu draws inspiration from Middle Eastern, North African, and Indian cuisine. Additionally, the 65-seat restaurant is filled with natural lighting, giving it a bright, contemporary and modern ambiance allowing guests a great view of the adjacent Ismaili Centre. Chef McEwan and his team has created a menu with their take on Pan-Islamic cuisine that includes starters like goat kafta, roasted beet salad, lamb kibbeh, and entrees like grilled beef shish kebab, and chicken jalfrezi. The dishes are said to offer traditional flavors while adding a more modern flare to them in terms of ingredients, and presentation.


The Goat Kafta ($12) - braised goat meatballs, curry sauce, warm naan, was a manageable size for a starter, and a great introduction to what is to come. Four plump goat meatballs surrounded by an overflow of delicious curry sauce, and served with warm naan.


The starters menu offers an array of tantalizing choices, but I opted for the Grilled Octopus ($17) - green chickpea salad, Moroccan olives, sweet stewed peppers, sujuk, and Aleppo pepper aioli. The octopus was perfectly cooked, and had a nice tender texture to it. Aleppo pepper is a spice that is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine, and has a moderate heat level. I could definitely taste a hint of spice in the octopus, and it was just the right amount.


The Grilled Beef Shish Kebab ($23) - with brown zataar butter, chickpea purée, sticky saffron onions, roasted heirloom beets was a more elevated take of the beef shish kebab that I've had in the past.


My choice of main was the Chermoula-Marinated Prawns ($24) - with roasted heirloom carrots, avocado, labneh, orange-cumin vinaigrette, and fresh coriander. The dish was well presented with a bed of salad topped off with six pieces of prawns, and lightly glazed with orange-cumin vinaigrette and labneh. The portion was a little small for an entree compared to my fiancé's dish. However, I loved the addition of the orange-cumin vinaigrette as it added a nice citrus flavoring to the prawns. I don't regret ordering this dish.


The Carrot Halva Upside Down Cake ($10) - all spice, brown sugar reduction, cream cheese icing contained a healthy chunk of real carrots, and was delicious. This dessert is the Diwan team's modern interpretation of the popular dessert using grated carrots and halva. This was my first time trying halva, and I learned that it's a dense and sweet confection of Arabic origin that is popular across the Middle East, and South/North Africa.



The Raspberry Sorbet ($8) was a light, yet refreshing frozen dessert.


Overall, we had an enjoyable lunch in a lovely atmosphere. Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum was a little far for us, but we made it count as we also shopped for a few things at McEwan's nearby grocery store after lunch.

Aga Khan Museum also has a fantastic performing arts program available and for many of their shows they offer a special dinner package at Diwan as well. Dinners begin at 6 pm on performance night and are $75 per person (performance ticket price not included). To reserve, please visit agakhanmuseum.org.

 There are two great poet series and a showcase performance coming up in April 2016 as detailed below.

Reflections on Rumi (Saturday, April 16)

The incomparable voices of sisters Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat unite with the kamancheh, piano, and percussion to deliver exquisite interpretations of Rumi’s poetry.

Reflections on Kabir and Khusrau (Friday, April 29)

Master sitartist Shujaat Khan and singer Ramneek Singh, known for her pure, meditative style, interpret the works of two beloved Sufi masters.

WORLD MUSIC SERIES

DakhaBrakha
- Showcase Performance (Saturday, April 23)

Ukrainian quartet and self-described “ethnic chaos” band returns for another original performance.

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Address: 77 Wynford Dr, Toronto, ON M3C 1K1

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agakhanmuseumtoronto
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/diwantoronto/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/agakhanmuseum
Website: https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/content/about-diwan

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Diwan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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