There are a number of Indian restaurants that have opened in recent years here in Sudbury, but J & M’s Indian Cuisine is the first to offer a taste of south Indian flavours.
While we may not be able to decipher food from the south or north, owner Shikha Bhanwala will tell you it is all about the dosa.
Dosa are paper-thin crepes made from rice and lentils, making the dish healthy and light.
They cannot be found anywhere in Sudbury except at J & M’s.
Bhanwala says while she is from northern India (the city of Panipat specifically), but her fiancé, Anvesh Pallahbatla, is from the south city of Hyderabad so the restaurant features a fusion of both regions to cater to each of their favourite dishes.
The couple moved from the Greater Toronto Area one year ago aiming to start a new restaurant venture in a less congested market. The couple met in Thunder Bay while attending university as international students studying to become aerospace engineering technicians.
Bhanwala did work in the industry, but gave that up for the restaurant located in the South End of the city. Pallahbatla assists her but is also a practising realtor in the area.
The restaurant opened in November 2022 and offers about 10-15 items that are not served anywhere else in the region.
Bhanwala said northern India is known for its burgers, chow mein and vada pav, which is like a potato fritter.
“Samosa chaat is also a popular item we featured around Christmas time, but left it on the menu after the holidays as it was very well received and made with samosas and chickpeas,” Bhanwala said.
Southern India is famous for its chicken biryani, which offers basmati rice, chicken, herbs and onions. It’s also a labour intensive dish that requires four hours to make.
Bhanwala said south Indian food can be spicy. While she has a very dedicated chef who owned two restaurants in India, she said the challenge has been the heat level.
“We have added a legend to our menu. Some dishes can be amended when it comes to spice, but for other dishes, changing the spices really ruins the authenticity of the dish altogether, especially for what is traditional Indian street food items,” she said.
There is nothing more traditional than silky Masala chai tea served in a clay pot. J & M offers tea served this way and there are nutritional and taste benefits associated with this method of sipping tea.
Many local restaurants have one signature item with a Sudbury twist in flavour or name. Look no further than the butter chicken poutine on the J & M menu upon your next visit.
Bhanwala and Pallahbatla are excited to see Sudburians are embracing their tastes of India and they say the international student population has been very supportive as well.
J & M is located at 2037 Long Lake Road at the Regent Street intersection.
It’s open Wednesday to Monday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Anastasia Rioux is a writer in Greater Sudbury. Let’s eat! is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.