Sort-of Secret: Bungalow 22, a monthly supper club featuring a rotating menu of regional Indian cuisine

Sort-of Secret: Bungalow 22, a monthly supper club featuring a rotating menu of regional Indian cuisine

Part of our series spotlighting the city’s edible hidden gems

Chef Ayushi Todi introduces herself to the guest of one of her Bungalow 22 dinners

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The sort-of secret: Bungalow 22, a monthly dinner party serving regional Indian cuisine
You may have heard of it if: you know past guests or have come across the supper club’s Instagram account
But you probably haven’t tried it because: It started last September and moves around the city

Toronto isn’t short on excellent Indian restaurants, but Ayushi Todi wasn’t always satisfied with them. “I missed the flavours that were home for me,” she says. Todi was 24 years old when she moved here from Bengal in 2016 to pursue an MBA at York’s Schulich School of Business. When she couldn’t find the food she was craving, she called her mom and asked how to make things like kanji vada, dhansak and shrikhand. Once she was confident in her newfound culinary skills, she started cooking for family and friends. Then, last fall, Todi—a project manager by day—launched her passion-project side hustle: Bungalow 22, an intimate supper club serving regional Indian cuisine. It’s mostly a one-woman show, with Todi getting some help from her husband and sister, who assist in plating and serving the dishes while she’s busy cooking and hosting. “As someone who was once new to Toronto, I know it’s not always easy to make friends,” she says. With Bungalow 22, Todi has created a space for strangers to connect with one another.

Ayushi Todi, chef-owner of Bungalow 22, at a recent Holi-themed dinner
Ayushi Todi, chef-owner of Bungalow 22, at a recent Holi-themed dinner

Related: Sort-of Secret: Jeudr3di, maybe the coolest supper club in Toronto right now

Todi herself is a patchwork of India’s many regions: her family is from Rajasthan, but she grew up in Kolkata, went to boarding school in Coimbatore, spent summer vacations in Mumbai and worked for a bit in Bangalore. All of that moving around shapes her menus. “There’s so much more to Indian food than butter chicken and naan,” she says.

Past events have highlighted Diwali, celebrated coastal cooking and honoured Todi’s maternal grandmother. The theme of a dinner in late March was Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colours that celebrates the end of winter. A prismatic arrangement of flowers, fruit and tapered candles lined the 12-person table. One by one, guests filed into the airy loft to mingle in the living room against a backdrop of the city skyline.

A table is set with flowers and candles

Conversation cards on the table at a recent Bungalow 22 dinner

Todi’s biggest fear before launching Bungalow 22 was that guests wouldn’t talk to one another. For awkward-silence emergencies, there are conversation cards on the coffee table, but so far they haven’t been needed—most people arrive with an open mind and understand that they signed up to dine with strangers. “There hasn’t been a single silent dinner,” says Todi, who hears constant laughter from the table when she disappears into the kitchen to prepare the next course.

At the start of the evening, Todi joins her guests on the couch, and after introducing herself and leading a round of ice-breakers, she ushers everyone to the table. At each place setting is a card with a rundown of each course—this is the first time diners learn what they’ll be eating.

People gather at a table for a Bungalow 22 dinner in Toronto

A set table for a Bungalow 22 dinner in Toronto

The first course of this particular meal was a parfait-like combination of chaat and sabudana that layered potato, chutney and curd with pretty-in-pink tapioca pearls. Each plate came with a pichkari, a toy water gun filled with a cilantro-mint chutney for guests to spritz their dish, a playful approach to the tradition of spraying coloured water at one another during Holi. “I never enjoyed eating sabudana when I was growing up, but chaat was my favourite—so I decided to combine the two to make a dish that was fun and tasty,” says Todi. It was followed by a deep-fried croquette of egg and lamb keema (or a spiced-beetroot version for the vegetarians).

A dish of sabudana-chaat at a Bungalow 22 dinner

People sit at a table with plates full of Indian food in front of them

The main course included puran poli (a flatbread stuffed with sweetened lentils) and katachi amti (a tangy vegetable soup made with the water used to boil the same lentils), prawn curry cooked in a Goan-style masala, and pumpkin sabzi—a treasured recipe from Todi’s mother-in-law and a guaranteed hit every time she serves it. Everything is accompanied by a pile of rice because, according to Todi, a meal is incomplete without it.

Bungalow 22 parties regularly go into overtime. Guests always linger, until Todi politely suggests taking the party to a nearby bar. “How cool is to know someone made a friend at one of my dinners?” she says. “That is so heartwarming.”

Chef Ayushi Todi puts the finishing touches on gujiya, fried and sweetened Indian dumplings

Bungalow 22 guests apply gulal powder to chef Ayushi Todi's face during one of her Bungalow 22 supper clubs