Photos by Barry Gray.
When Stittsville resident Shams Feizi opened the Simbad Bakery just over five months ago, he was anxious to introduce the Middle Eastern baking to Stittsville and Kanata.
So far, the Google reviews agree that his Lebanese and Turkish pies are a hit.
“Amazing. People write great things in our Google reviews,” said Feizi. “[It] makes us really happy. We are on the right track.”
The bakery, located at Hazeldean and Castlefrank in Kanata South, doesn’t feature the baked good typically found at Canadian bakeries. Instead, Feizi focuses on savory dishes.
“Our pies are different than some of the other ones around us,” said Feizi. “We wanted to be different than some of the other bakeries.”
When Feizi was considering opening a restaurant, a bakery seemed like a good fit. Part of Feizi’s inspiration to open a bakery was his daughter’s love of the Lebanese pies.
“I used to go all the way down Carling to get my pies,” said Feizi. “My daughter loves the cheese pies and I would see lots of people from Kanata there.”
Simbad Bakery features a range of meat, cheese, zaatar and vegetarian pies and pockets.
So far, the most popular pies are the meat and cheese, the cheese, and the spinach.
“To people who have never tried our food, go for our regular cheese pies,” said Feizi.
The seven-cheeses are a blend of three Lebanese cheeses and four Canadian cheeses. Covering the fresh dough, the cheese blend makes the cheese pies very special.
Another popular item is the zaatar. This is a special spice blend that goes with ground beef and the blend includes thyme and sesame seeds.
The meat pies are best warm but the cheese and spinach pies are can also be eaten cold. They can even be heated in the microwave, even frozen for up to three weeks.
And the price is very affordable: two meat pies for $4.50. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t fresh. Everything is made in house.
“Our dough, we make it every three hours,” said Feizi. “The thing with the dough is that if it goes more than two hours, it’s not as good.”
All this is cooked in their huge gas oven.
“Our oven is custom built – it’s specifically built to cook the pies,” said Feizi. “Since the dough is so thin and soft it cooks quickly.”
The bakery is hot! The oven is regularly kept at 900 degrees Fahrenheit, runs at about 1500 degrees during busy times and could go as high as 2500 degrees.
In addition to dealing with the heat from the oven, being a baker has its challenges.
“I myself thought baking was very simple,” said Feizi. “But it’s not. You have to be on time for everything, very specific. It’s not easy to be a baker.”
Feizi’s day starts early. “I come here at 4:30-5:00 in the morning to be ready for 7:00 a.m. ” said Feizi. “It’s a lot of hard work. Hard work always pays off.”
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