It’s with a heavy heart that I must report that Hemant Bhagwani has collapsed his empire, selling off his restaurants and partnerships to take some well deserved time to rest, travel and rejuvenate. Hemant is a friend of mine, someone who’s journey I’ve watched with admiration and respect.
Know as the Amaya kingpin, and then lauded for his work opening the first tip-free restaurant in Toronto on Bayview, Indian Street Food Co. Hemant has been at the forefront of modern Indian cuisine in this city. Each of his restaurants housed a different energy and aesthetic, always tied to an area he’s traveled in India, his homeland. Pico was the combination of a taco and and pita, which worked with brilliant results at the sadly shuttered The Fat Beet. Bay Street Colaba Junction takes it’s name from an vibrant district of Mumbai.
Whether he was collaborating on a project, consulting in the kitchen, or cooking up a new ready to go sauce for your own home cooking, Hemant is a force in this city, known for his creativity in the kitchen and his welcoming and warm nature in the front of house. While there’s no official word on who’s taking over his (still open) restaurants, we know Hemant will be back soon, firing on all cylinders and ready to set the stage for what’s next…we can only hope it’s a balti house! Seriously, you been to Birmingham? Deeeelightful.
Stay tuned for further developments! I’ll be stalking Hemant’s socials until his epic return!