Subodh Mathur’s first Roses Café menu was timid. Lentil soup, samosas, batata vada, served with a trio of sauces, but also a “Canadian” section that featured chicken nuggets and club sandwiches.
My approach to reviewing the Roses Café Restaurant on Gladstone, was timid too. I didn’t know much. We had maybe an afternoon learning la Sauce au Cari in culinary school, Paris, 1984 — a classic velouté (white sauce) with a dollop of curry powder. What was in a chicken Moglai or a lamb biryani was a mystery. So I went to the library and looked them up, in cookbooks not written by the French.
Subodh went on to open four more Roses Cafés across the city. They were, for me, more than places for a good meal with kind service at an affordable price (dinner for two, with a couple of beers, $35 according to my 1994 review), they were an early education in one of the world’s great cuisines. I’d like to thank him for that. And express my condolences to his family. Subodh Mathur died on March 14th, after a long illness.