AFTER BEING NAMED our best new restaurant for 2017, this enchanting Japanese- Italian supper club continued to earn accolades—and the envy of restaurateurs across Canada—with a glowing review in the New York Times.Hidden away in a second-storey loft on the gritty side of Chinatown, the atmospheric dining room (designed in “the colour palette of a David Lynch project,” Times critic Pete Wells aptly observed) transports you to a time when people dressed for dinner and a night on the town evoked a sense of occasion. Dreamed up by Tannis Ling, owner of the acclaimed Bao Bei, along with her longtime executive chef Joël Watanabe and sous chef Alain Chow, it’s a place where lovers can hold hands in dimly lit banquettes, while the broken- hearted search for solace in a dram of Japanese whisky, chased by a soulful jazz soundtrack at a shagadelic wood and brass bar.An imaginative menu—“neither Japanese nor Italian but some third thing invented by Mr. Watanabe and Mr. Chow,” wrote Wells—conjures delicate sheets of handmade pasta layered with tender kasu-braised pork and miso besciamella, and porchetta-stuffed agnolotti swaddled in velvety smoked cream and hit with sour-salty punches of kombu-cured olives. For nibbling, there are fried olives stuffed with shiso and sausage, quivering chawan mushi egg custard spiked with Parmesan, bagna cauda amplified with bonito, and a signature flash-fried fish lightly battered in potato flour and diamond-scored so that the opalescent flesh puffs into golden-crisped nuggets for dipping into grated-daikon soy sauce. Right down to the last crumbs of tofu tiramisu soaked in plum wine, we’re still captivated by her spell.
Tuesday to Saturday
5:30 PM until 12:00 AM
Photos by: Ian Lanterman, Interior by Knauf & Brown