A Cabbagetown bakery is an emissary for Sri Lankan cuisine.
A steady stream of customers head into the narrow storefront of Absolute Bakery & Cafe at 589 Parliament Street, lured by the picture-perfect pastries and breads in the window front. The bakery not only serves top-notch sweets such as poppyseed rolls and cream-cheese danishes, but it also has wonderful spicy snacks from Sri Lanka. Tucked behind the counter are trays of curried rolls, known in Sri Lanka as “short eats.”
Owner Nageswary Rajendran, who is Sri Lankan, explains that her fish buns—large, triangular baked rolls stuffed with curry—are very popular in her home country. Absolute’s powdery fish and meat rolls are good, but the clear winner of the bunch is the rotti, a long, folded soft bread stuffed with beef, vegetable, or chicken curry.
Each Sri Lankan item will set you back just $2 or $2.50, and two items makes a filling lunch. “People ask for samosas, but this is not food from my country,” says Nageswary. “I teach Canadians about rotti. They are crazy about rotti.”
Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world.