Posted by: Food Lover | June 19, 2012

Mogul Divaan

Now here’s a revelation.

Take a drive down Saskatoon’s 22nd Street West (not a geography normally associated with great restaurants – trust us) and seek out Mogul Divaan. Nestled in an unassuming, small commercial building that shares four tenants you’ll find the best South Asian cuisine in the city. Indeed, we believe that this “Imperial Cuisine of Pakistan” is as good as any South Asian food you’ll find anywhere in Canada.

Aloo Naan
Aloo Naan

Walking into Mogul Divaan you have to hope that the great reviews on Urbanspoon are accurate; the restaurant is about as unassuming as they come. There is no pretense here, but the aromas emanating from the kitchen promise a delightful experience. And those aromas are not the harbinger of false promise; Mogul Divaan is a wonderful purveyor of fine Pakistani cuisine and is well worth the visit. You know you’re in for an authentic meal when you walk in, and see that most diners of of South Asian descent themselves.

Beef Korma

Although most Urbanspoon reviews speak to the quality of the buffet, we were determined to sample the ala carte menu several times before eating lunch from the buffet. We were curious to see if the restaurant put all its effort into satisfying the buffet crowd, offering the menu as a minor diversion only. We were delighted to find that this is not the case.

Bhindi Payaz

Ordering from the menu allowed us to not only sample some dishes we’ve never had before (Karahi, Bhindi Payaz, Korma) but to also interact with the owner and servers (family, we suspect) who were very friendly and more than willing to make suggestions and offer advice. Perhaps the most helpful of the latter was the warning to be careful of “the small red pods in the Dum Pukht chicken; these were very HOT and should not be bitten into under any circumstances. Although we are both tolerant of very spicy foods we were careful to follow the advice, and we were very glad we did. When we were enjoying the Dum Pukht one of us took one of the red pods and sampled only a portion; suffice it to say we were very happy that we had ordered a cooling mango lassi to accompany our dinner – the cooling properties of the yoghurt-based drink came in very handy that night!

Chicken Pulao

We can honestly say we’ve not had anything remotely resembling a mediocre (let alone a bad) meal there. The pulao rice is perfect; light, fluffy, and full of flavor. The naan bread, particularly the stuffed varieties, is perfectly done and provides a great opportunity to mop up all the wonderful sauces. On that note, the sauces that accompany the dishes here are to die for; someone invests a lot of time and love into those complex flavours, and they are a pleasure to mop up and devour to the last drop. As to mains, we’ve not encountered anything we don’t like, but the lamb and goat dishes are worthy of particular mention. Come to think of it, everything on the menu is worthy of particular mention.

Lamb Karahi

On one of our visits we had eaten our fill – and beyond – from the menu. When we tried to pay Ali – the young and very personable owner – asked us if we had tried any dessert. When we said no, he responded by saying “Well, you have to have dessert.” At which point he walked away from the till without so much as looking at our proffered credit card and insisted that we return to our table. Once we gave in and sat down Ali presented us with a lovely gulab jamun – the delightful Pakistani dessert comprised of milk solids deep fried slowly then stewed in cardamom and rosewater flavoured syrup – served up a generous helping of kheer. It was delicious, though we were both far too full to finish what Ali had offered.

Gulab Jaaman

This encounter sums up perfectly the atmosphere at Mogul Divaan. You don’t really feel like you’re in a restaurant; rather, you feel more like you’re in someone’s home sharing a meal with many old family friends who you may not know, but are welcome to share a table with. This is accentuated by the fact that routinely we are the only Caucasians sharing the space with South Asians from both India and Pakistan.

Chicken Wings in Tamarind Sauce

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the lunch buffet is worthy of the praise it receives. As with so many things Mogul the most “standard” dishes are on offer, but with an interesting and delicious flavour twist that will keep you happy. For example, their butter chicken looks like the standard butter chicken you’ve encountered countless times before, but a taste reveals a subtle and delicious variation on the theme that while hard to pin down makes the dish new to the palate once again – simply delicious. Everything on the buffet offers a similar taste profile, and the selection even includes one or two dishes that we’ve not encountered before (including a ground beef with peppers, orange and garlic that we fell in love with at first bite).

Buffet Selections

Mogul Divaan on Urbanspoon

Mogul Divaan

2115 22nd St W
Saskatoon, SK

(306) 343-5005

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