Little India Restaurant
By YP Contributor

A Family Affair

What do you get when you mix four brothers from the Selvarasa family with hard work and quality ingredients? A mighty fine butter chicken. At Little India in the Queen West neighbourhood, family, food and sharp service are central to the restaurant’s long success.

Sriharan Selvarasa was 16 when his dad, Nalliah, opened the North Indian Punjabi-style restaurant. And he learned quickly the key tenants of success. “It’s a lot of work, time and dedication,” says Sriharan. Luckily there are many Selvarasas to share that work. “Family is the reason we’re here.”

Along with his brother Thaneswaran, Sriharan was passionate about service from the very beginning. He believes it’s the details that matter. “Even the way you present a menu sends a message to the customer,” he says. “If you have good food, but bad service, no one is going to come.”

The other half of the Selvarasa siblings found a passion in the kitchen. Nithiyananthan and Sathiyaseelan ensure that what comes out of the kitchen matches the quality of the service.

Even though the brothers now run Little India, it doesn’t mean the parents have retreated completely. Mrs. Selvarasa still makes the desserts. And Dad? “He looks for mistakes and points them out. Inside, he’s proud,” says a chuckling Sriharan. “He grew up on farms in a big family without much money. They had to work hard so he’s old school.”

“It’s all about how rich your ingredients are. We use a lot of spices and our food is delicate and tasty.” - Sriharan Selvarasa, co-owner

Quality Ingredients for Quality Dishes

While Sriharan might have his eye on the service, there’s no doubt the food is another reason the restaurant attracts a clientele he estimates to be about 30 per cent Indian. “Our food is tastier — we know that because of customer feedback. It’s all about how rich your ingredients are. We use a lot of spices and our food is delicate and tasty.”

The butter chicken is meltingly tender, and the sauce rich and complex. The aloo gobi — a curry of cauliflower and potatoes — offers a hint of sweetness. And if you can tell a restaurant’s quality by its naan, Little India hits it out of the park with its buttery, steaming bread.

For newcomers to Little India, Sriharan recommends the meat combo — a generous portion that includes tandoori chicken, a kebab, lamb tikka, prawn tandoori, butter chicken and a vegetable curry. The lunch buffet — open from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — attracts quite the crowd.

A Bigger Little India

The upstairs dining room is a source of pride for Sriharan. Artwork from India hangs on the walls, set in intricately carved wood frames. He bought them during a trip to India.

While the artwork serves as nice attractions to the restaurant, it’s not what gets the ever-growing clientele to keep coming back, especially if the Selvarasa brothers keep making butter chicken the way they do.

Close menu