International renown chef Gurdiyal Singh Sidhu, owner/head chef and Sunny Sandhu, manager/chef have taken the helm of Lava Restaurant. Chef Gurdiyal was raised in Punjab, India where he received his formal culinary education, preparing food in the style of northwest Indian cuisine. He has been a chef in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Las Vegas, Benicia, Oakland and at the Grand in San Francisco.
I asked why he chose to become the head chef/owner at Lava Restaurant here in Brisbane. He replied, “Brisbane is beautiful. We are centrally located for residents and workers who want to sample new cuisine and those who want good home-style prepared Indian food. Our goal is to provide authentic Indian cuisine to employees who work in Brisbane, South San Francisco, Daly City, San Francisco, and the Peninsula. We are respectful of people’s time, desire for good quality and fresh food at a reasonable price with a short wait time.” The welcoming dining area greets patrons with covered chairs, white table cloths and tasteful wall hangings is both relaxing and spotless.
In response to the question about what defines North Indian cuisine compared to Southern cuisine, Chef Gurdiyal responded, “I was raised in Punjab and learned from an early age the art of combining fresh, hand-picked vegetables, garlic, ginger, onions and tomatoes. Southern Indian cuisine tends to have sharper, intense flavors using rice and coconut. I take pride in creating a fusion of flavor that combines spice marinades such as garam masala, aniseed, fennel, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, dry red chilies, turmeric, chili powder, cardamom, and cloves to make signature dishes for Lava Restaurant.” I learned that Northern Indian food uses dairy products to create their sauces, cream dishes and buttery tasting dishes. I sampled the homemade cheese, onions and special sauce mixed nuts, Garlic Naan bread, Daal Soup (a traditional yellow lentil soup), Achar chicken, and Lamb Seekh Kabab, followed by Kheer rice pudding. My husband, Bob, said “Yummmmm.” He particularly like the Daal soup, Achar chicken and Kheer rice pudding.
I asked them to talk about what Tandoori means. Chef Sunny replied, “’Tandoori’ is not a reference to a recipe, but how we cook our bread and dishes. We use the clay tandoor oven for naan bread and marinades for our vegetables and meats that are cooked using a hot, very hot charcoal fire.” We then toured the kitchen area. Here I saw the tandoor, pizza oven, the charcoal fire, and preparation area. Chef Gurdiyal commented, “We use a different recipe and different preparation for each of our signature dishes, that way our patrons experience a different texture and flavor for each dish. He then spoke about how Lava uses yogurt to seal the juices and flavors of the marinated meat and vegetables rather than butter and other fats.”
Lava Restaurant menu choices include pizza, chicken, lamb, vegetable, seafood and Biryani rice dishes. They offer take out, sit down and delivery. Call them at 415.466.6033 for group dining specials for corporate, social, and private parties that offers samples of the rich Indian cuisine dining. This restaurant can be rented for private and semi-private dining. Chef Sunny said, “We want people to enjoy the flavors of north India in a business and family friendly environment. Make sure you let people know that we can prepare the food from a hint of spice to very spicy. Just let us know. We want to provide the flavorful food that you want, filled with taste and texture.” Lava restaurant is open Sunday to Monday for brunch from 11am to 3pm and dinner 5pm to 10pm. Order food on-line http://www.lavasfbistro.com or simply by calling 415.466.6033. Stop by and welcome the new owners.