Take a look inside Zarak, opening soon in Mount Pleasant – Scout Magazine

Every time I have walked past the new development that goes up on the corner of Main Street and 5th Avenue, I have shaken myself at the thought of a chain restaurant moving into one of the ground floor spaces. In my opinion, a chain would only detract from the friendly neighborhood atmosphere that the small and independent businesses in this area have built up over time (thanks Brassneck, Como, Cartems, The Whip, The Narrow, Itsumo Life and and Kranky Cafe). So when I heard about the project that would move into the space at 2102 Main St, I was not just relieved, I was actually excited.

Zarak, brought to us by the team from South Surrey’s much-loved Afghan Kitchen, is a family-run and community-oriented restaurant by anyone’s standards for the concept. Like Afghan Kitchen, Zarak is owned and operated by a team of family members and friends who are sincerely motivated by the desire to share good food and create connections between people.

The 2,277-square-foot space has been brought to life by architect Marko Simcic of Simcic Uhrich Architecture (Superflux, Harken, The Birds and the Beets, Brassneck) by merging a modern design aesthetic with materials, building lines and color palettes based on traditional Afghan mud houses. The result is a space that subtly pays homage to a distant place, while at the same time remaining anchored in Vancouver’s ‘now’.

Like the room, the menu also combines tradition with innovation. Owner and GM Hassib Sarwari explains: “Mother [Zohra Parwani] and [younger brother] Ehsan will monitor that our food remains true to the integrity of mom’s recipes. When we first moved to Canada, dinners at home played a big role in our adaptation to the country. When Mom cooked for us, we felt connected to the life we ​​grew up with in Afghanistan, so she made our favorite dishes every day so we could be nourished and make our new home in Canada our home. Through her cooking, I see the connection that she fosters with four young boys, she raised all alone in a whole new country, and the same food with the same recipes will be served on Zarak.

This means that most popular dishes from Afghan Kitchen have found their home in Zarak – diners can rest assured that Bolani (a pan-fried flatbread stuffed with potato); chicken qorma; fried lamb; Afghan rice; an abundance of dips and chutneys, and the small serving of rosewater ice cream with a cult-like entourage at the Surrey location will all be available. However, there will also be playful additions that will give Zarak his own identity (look for a cocktail program that incorporates flavors such as fig, almond, cardamom, saffron and rose water, as well as creative desserts by pastry chef Daniel Munoz.)

After having the chance to visit the room (see photos below), taste the food and meet the family, I am even more excited about what they will bring to the neighborhood. Zarak is not only a restaurant, it is also a means of storytelling. From the hand-woven Afghan fabrics that cover the bench’s seats, to the almost imperceptible dragon-shaped gold flakes embedded in the ceiling, a story lurks in almost every corner. And not only in the decor – also the menu. When you visit this new addition to Main Street, do not be shy. Ask questions. Try new things.

Zarak opens in early December. Keep an eye on their IG feed for an opening day announcement.

Working hours will be 17.00-22.00, Wednesday-Sunday. CLOSED Monday + Tuesday.

Owners: Hassib Sarwari, Mahmood Aziz, Winnie Sun.
Chef: Zohra Parwani, Daniel Munoz (dessert and pastry program)
Design / Architect: Marko Simcic
Entrepreneur: Merola


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