The Aga Khan Museum Is Tasty!

Well, Christmas is upon us.  I’m proud to say that I’m ahead of it this year.  My tree is up and decorated, I’ve got all of my presents purchased and I’ve got tonnes of time to wrap them, I’m baking this weekend in anticipation of the annual cookie exchange.  I’ve really got it going on. Short and I went to a pop-up Christmas shop this weekend and we were going to blog about it but once we got there and thought about it, we decided against it.  We had already been there last year and we wanted to simply enjoy the experience as opposed to taking notes and photos.  We had bankrolled The Aga Khan Museum visit for this very thing so we agreed to blog about that instead.  Now that I’m writing it down, it is pretty weird that we’re reviewing an Islamic experience and not something more Christmassy.  We’re funny that way.

I’ve noticed the building plenty of times when I’m driving on the DVP.  It is gorgeous.  Apparently it was designed by architect Fumihiko Maki who used light as his inspiration.

aga-khan-museum-at-dusk

Yep.  This is the building and water feature at dusk.  Beautiful, isn’t it?

If I’m being totally honest, and I am, I really just went to the museum because I found out that Mark McEwan opened a restaurant there called Diwan and I wanted to sample his take on Middle Eastern, African and Indian influences.  The restaurant itself is really quite breathtaking.aga-khan-museum-diwan

It was a pretty dismal fall day but I could tell that in the spring and summer it would be worth another visit so that we could try out the garden patio.

We decided to split a bunch of stuff because there was too many tasty sounding dishes to choose from.  And even the dinnerware was fantastic!

aga-khan-museum-diwan-mango-lassi

We both ordered tea and Short didn’t want her sugar stir stick so I snagged it. And I had to try the mango lassi. It was the best one I’ve ever tasted. No kidding.

 

aga-khan-museum-diwan-lahana-salata

Lahana Salata $14 – Cabbage with beets, almonds, labneh and citrus garlic vinaigrette. Sounds simple but it was done perfectly. Crunchy, fresh and light.

 

aga-khan-museum-diwan-kebab-karaz

Kebab Karaz – $14 – Lamb meatballs braised with sour cherries and pennants served with naan. Again, a lot of thought went into this dish. The sour cherries paired with the earthy lamb totally worked!

 

aga-khan-museum-diwan-grilled-octopus

Grilled Octopus – $17 – served with chickpea salad, moroccan olives, stewed sweet peppers, sujuk and aleppo pepper aioli. I would never have ordered this because octopus is not my thing. But guess what? It was freaking awesome.

 

aga-khan-museum-diwan-chicken-tikka-masala-sandwich

Chicken Tikka Masal Sandwich – $17 – served with pickled carrot, lettuce, cucumber-mint raita and mango chutney on naan. I’m not sure this was worth the ticket. More street food and not elevated enough for me.

 

aga-khan-museum-diwan-sweet-onion-bhaji

Sweet Onion Bhaji – $9 – served with tamarind chutney. Meh. I’ve had better at my local Indian restaurant.

 

aga-khan-museum-diwan-orange-semolina-cake

Orange Semolina Cake – $11 – served with passion fruit coulis and whipped sour cream. O. M. G. Sooooo freakin’ good. I could have done without the candied blood orange slice. I understand that it was more for decoration that eating but I’ve watched enough Food Network to know that you shouldn’t do that.

We were really way too full to walk around and take anything else in but we did our best.  The interior is very calming and relaxing.

aga-khan-museum-interior-1

How cool is this room? People were just hanging out and reading and being cool.

Then we went up to the exhibits.  I am NOT one for history or geography at all.  Read:  I sucked at these subjects in school and have since found out that it wasn’t my fault.  My brain doesn’t take that information in.  Ever.  Needless to say, everything was brand new to me even though some of the artifacts were from the 8th century.  The EIGHTH.  Woah.

aga-khan-museum-fountain

A very large exhibit of a ceramic fountain.

 

aga-khan-museum-tombstone

A tombstone that was about 4 feet in length.

 

aga-khan-museum-manuscript-of-tuhfet-ul-letaif

Manuscript of Tuhfet ul-leta – I can’t believe how well preserved this was.

 

aga-khan-museum-inscribed-scallop-shell

An inscribed scallop shell – My favourite piece.

My photos don’t do it justice.  I think my biggest take away was the honour and pride that was taken with all of these artifacts.  There was another room full of exhibits that we weren’t allowed to photograph so you’ll just have to go on your own to check it out.  I learned more about Islam and muslim culture than I ever have.  And I felt honoured that I was allowed to  take in their history in such a beautiful and peaceful surrounding.  And Mark McEwan’s food didn’t hurt either!

 

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