Once there were three friends who came to Canada with a single dream — to start their own restaurant.
Srinath Purusotam, a chef from Bermuda, was the first, immigrating to Canada in 2015. A chef friend, Ranjeet Senapati, followed a year later. In 2019, the last of the three friends, Hari Acharya, who previously worked at Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, arrived in this country.
Having worked in fine dining restaurants for years, they had over 17 years of restaurant experience combined.
In 2020, their vision took life — Maple Mirchy, an Indo-Canadian fusion fast food joint, was born.
The fast food takeout and delivery-only place brought together flavours of India, where Senapati and Purusotam are originally from, and Canada to create unique food.
"We all have hotel management degrees," said Acharya, whose own background is Nepalese. "We met in Vancouver and discussed our different visions and brought them all together. It is a kind of experience. We said even if we failed, we did it, so there would be no failure."
They mulled over the idea of an Indian restaurant, but seeing that there were many Indian restaurants in Vancouver and neighbouring cities when they started, Acharya said the trio decided to combine Indian and Canadian cuisine.
The name Maple Mirchy reflects the two countries — Maple for Canada and Mirchy (which means chili or spicy) for India — also bringing a balance to the flavours.
The business is located in a strip mall at 6th Street and 12th Avenue. However, soon after they opened, a fire at the adjoining hookah bar caused Maple Mirchy to shut down for eight months.
It was hard, Acharya said. Mortgage bills were catching up to the friends, even though insurance covered a portion of it. But friendship and their dreams were important, so they kept going — and, in 2021, the restaurant opened its doors again with its fusion creations.
One of their popular dishes is the Puff & Pie, Acharya said. Everything is made fresh when the order is placed, and there are different fillings to suit each dietary preference — from egg, lamb and chicken to vegetarian.
The puffs are an Indian classic — flaky pastries combined with hot fillings of your choice. The puffs are combined with classic British pies, blending two different cuisines.
Another bestseller is the Maple Dip, he said, which combines sweet and spicy flavours in an Indo-Canadian marriage of flavours.
Acharya said more fusion dishes are on the horizon, adding that he appreciates the community support, and hopes to expand to a second location in Vancouver in the future or to establish a dine-in restaurant.
But for now, Maple Mirchy is a hidden gem to be savoured at home.