Diwan at The Aga Khan Museum

7:04 PM

What do you get when you dine at one of renowned chef, Mark McEwan's restaurants, overlooking the breathtaking Aga Khan Park? Nothing less of a spectacular meal.  Earlier this week, Karen (@sincerelykn) and I had lunch at Diwan, one of Mark's newest ventures that brings together the flavours of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia to Toronto.

Lunch outfit - Romeo & Juliet lace dress, Saint Laurent Sac de Jour, Franco Sarto block heel.
It's incredibly fitting that this restaurant is located in the stunning Aga Khan Museum. The dining room in itself is practically an extension of the museum - the first thing that caught my eye were the Damascus hand-carved, wooden panels that date back to the early 17th century. The restaurant interior was designed to mirror a 19th century, ultra-luxe, private Syrian home, combined with elements of today's contemporary designs.

Diwan is open for lunch Tuesday to Sunday and with such a beautifully curated menu, it was hard to not over-order. After tasting a diverse collection of dishes, I definitely had some personal favourites but overall there was a consistency in the freshness and depth of flavour in each dish.  From the chopped veggies in the colourful shawarma salad to the fresh naan to dip, Diwan delivered an authentic dining experience with strong attention to detail.

Karen and I both loved the sweet onion bahji, served with a sweet tamarind chutney. 
Next up, we had the lamb kofta (meatballs) with corn, coconut curry and naan.
I am a huge shawarma fan so naturally we had to try the chicken shawarma salad with quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, hummus and tahini yogurt.

I can naan get enough naan (see what I did there?). Here we have the borani-e-bademjan which is an eggplant and yogurt dip.
Saved the best for the last, I was swooning over the grilled octopus with chickpea salad, mixed with Moroccan olives, stewed sweet peppers, and Aleppo aioli.
To wash down all this goodness, I ordered a mango lassi with cardamon and rosewater. I've had mango lassi before but the rosewater was literally a game changer.

I could have ordered 3 of these had we not eaten everything else. We opted for the strawberry cheesecake with fresh meringue but it was more of a custard consistency with your classic cheesecake taste.  Such a refreshing spin!

The pistachio and walnut filo roll was topped with a honey lavender syrup and a generous scoop of fig gelato.

When you think your meal couldn't get any better, you then spend an hour in the ridiculously photogenic Aga Khan Park, a landscaped garden area between the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum.  I felt so at peace walking the grounds of this park.  I can't decide if it was the serenity of the reflecting pools or abundance of greenery, but I was overcome with calmness and clarity. Whether you come here for the food, the museum or just a walk around the park, I promise you it's more than worth the visit.

x, minh

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