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Mark McEwan Takes Over Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum

THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM’S DIWAN RESTAURANT NOW FEATURES A NEW MENU DESIGNED BY CELEBRITY CHEF MARK MCEWAN

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The serene Diwan dining room at the Aga Khan Museum (photo: Janet Kimber)

At museums, change is inevitable. It’s most evident in the opening and closing of temporary exhibitions and special events, but evolution also occurs elsewhere—in the way programs are delivered, in the layout of galleries, and, in the case of the Aga Khan Museum, the operation of its food and beverage services. Late last year, the celebrated institution for Islamic art and culture partnered with chef Mark McEwan to revamp the offerings at its Diwan restaurant. Though McEwan’s background isn’t exactly steeped in the cuisine of the Islamic diaspora, he’s nothing if not adaptable: his restaurants’ culinary profiles range from contemporary Continental (North 44) to brassy North American (Bymark) to rustic Italian (Fabbrica), and his two upscale supermarkets demonstrate his long history of sourcing the absolute best ingredients. At Diwan, the chef and his team have retained the restaurant’s artful approach to Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian cooking, while also making its lunchtime dishes a little more accessible. A traditional wedge salad, for example, gets a Moroccan twist with cilantro mint dressing, tamarind chutney and crispy daal, while salmon is glazed with harissa and served with quinoa, falafel and pomegranate yogurt. What hasn’t changed, however, is the beautiful, serene dining room, which is accented by hand-carved and painted wood panels dating back to 19th-century Damascus.  —Craig Moy

• Diwan, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4670; agakhanmuseum.org/dine
• Map and reviews

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