WHAT STARTED AS SUNNY’S CHINESE— a pandemic pop-up delivering regional Chinese food — became Toronto’s hottest opening of 2021. But ignore the showy crowd, its flashing iPhones, air kisses and Balenciaga sneakers and you’ll find a serious restaurant here. Chefs David Schwartz and Braden Chong have done what some may have thought unthinkable. They have taken traditional Chinese recipes and, without dumbing down the flavours or compromising, made assertive heat, acidity and spice accessible for a conservative uptown crowd. Flavours are clear and precise, and dishes are light, eschewing gelatinous textures and heavy oil. Still, the food remains uncompromisingly resolute. Shrimp toast, a dim sum classic, balances crisp bread with sweet, springy shrimp and a vinegar tang. The social-media-ready four-foot-long belt noodle (showily snipped tableside, naturally) is alive with numbing Szechuan peppercorn and cooling cucumber. A whole sea bass — fried and topped with chilies, chive and Fujian wine — continues the pattern of lively, forward flavours but could benefit from a deboning before service. Sommelier Kasra Khorramnejad understands the way that Rieslings and amber wines can cut through sweetness and spice and refresh the palate. He may even offer up a selection of that alluring Chinese spirit, baijiu. The success of Mimi has enabled a surprising result. This summer, Sunny’s will be back, with dine-in, at Kensington market.
Very polished and refined Chinese cooking with little compromise”
Photography by: Gabriel Li