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Lila, A New ‘Modern Indian’ Restaurant from the Founders of Acorn and Vij’s is Coming to Main Street

Named after the Sanskrit word for “playful and divine drama”, Lila is the first restaurant from a new partnership between long-term friends and restaurateurs, Shira Blustein (Founder of Acorn) and Meeru Dhalwala (Founder & Head Chef of Vij’s), soon to open in the old Arbor location (3941 Main Street).

Lila is hands-down one of the more exciting and unique restaurants – and collaborations – in the local pipeline right now, so I jumped at the chance to walk through the space late last week. When I did, I was blown away by how quickly the crew has reimagined and restyled it.

The last time I visited this address was in April, when it was still known as The Arbor. Since then, the lease for The Arbor expired – what co-owner Blustein saw as an opportunity to reinvent the space and start a new chapter. That is exactly what she’s done: the ambiance of the space has shifted dramatically. What was once light and airy has taken a 180 to greens and greys, accented by dark wood. The patio – arguably the best outdoor dining area on Main Street – influences the interior with plants arranged, hanging, and climbing throughout, extending the garden vibe indoors. A moody, multilayered mural by local artist and Acorn co-founder Scott Lewis (who also oversaw the branding and graphics for Lila) ties all of these elements together, making the space feel completely renewed.

Lila, A New ‘Modern Indian’ Restaurant from the Founders of Acorn and Vij’s is Coming to Main Street | photo Scout Magazine

Details of what the team is describing as a “Modern Indian” menu have yet to be released, but I’ve sampled a few sneaky bites, and if I had to summarize it in a word, “tasty” is the first one that pops into my head. The food isn’t just tasty, though – it’s also crafted with a strong emphasis on sustainability and local sourcing. This commitment highlights Meeru and Shira’s dedication to environmental responsibility, ensuring that every dish is both delicious and ethically sourced. Guests can also look forward to unwinding with a variety of handcrafted cocktails, local beers and an expertly curated selection of low-intervention wines, brought together to pair with the Modern Indian fare by Acorn’s wine director, James Miziolek.

Blustein and Dhalwala have been friends for years, and they have long talked about the possibility of collaborating on a project; it’s nice to see it taking shape. Shira helps connect the dots: “I love Indian food; my mother’s side of the family is Indian/Persian, so it’s the food I grew up on. The spices and flavours are reminiscent of my childhood – I can’t wait to enjoy them through Meeru’s menu on the patio with a crisp glass of Riesling.”

Lila plans to open doors within the next few weeks, which means that the neighbourhood (and beyond) should be able to slip in for some small plates at the new Main Street restaurant, and begin enjoying its lush patio sanctuary, before the month of May is done. Stay informed and ready to mark official opening day by following Lila’s Instagram account here.

Neighbourhood: Main Street
3941 Main St
(Opening soon)

There is 1 comment

  1. When one door closes, another opens. Arbor was definitely a favourite of ours, so was sad when it was put into retirement, but looking forward to Lila. I’ve never quite gotten over the closing of Rangoli and while I know this will be its own establishment, perhaps it can fill a bit of that hole in my heart.

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