That time we went to Momofuku…

 

chicken served with carrot and an egg yolk on the side capped off the savoury dishes.

chicken served with carrot and an egg yolk on the side capped off the savoury dishes.

Ever since I’ve first seen photos on Instagram, various tweets or reading through the issues of Lucky Peach, I’ve been extremely curious about the Momofuku franchise. Earlier this year, I was quite excited to learn that David Chang’s franchise was to set foot in Toronto. Ever since they had opened earlier this fall, I was looking forward to check the place out and sample the menu. Timing had been off until a couple of weeks ago.

 

I recently found out that my friend Manon had gone to high school in Sudbury with with Momofuku Daisho executive sous chef Matt Blondin. The two Collège Notre-Dame (CND, as they called it) alumni recently reconnected. This impromptu reunion prompted Manon and myself to finally set foot at Daishő.

Daisho's dining room.

Daisho’s dining room.

 

The restaurant is adjacent to the brand-new Shangri-La Hotel. The entire Momofuku building has large windows. The Noodle Bar is located on the ground floor. The Nikai bar is on the second, while Daishő and Shőtő, two; more intimate restaurants are located on the third floor. We caught up over cocktails at Nikai while waiting for our table.

Daisho’s dining room is surrounded by large windows, big round lights shine over many of the tables. There are also several seats along the bar. We were greeted with a smile and a cucumber, chilli and soy sauce salad. Just as Manon and I were about to choose our appetizers, the menus were taken away from us.  Our server informed us that we would sample a series of chef Matt’s picks. We were obviously excited.

Halibut cheeks, served with hen of the woods mushrooms, spruce and persimmon.

Halibut cheeks, served with hen of the woods mushrooms, spruce and persimmon.

Our first course rolled out. We started off with the Hot Wing Bun. A chicken wing served with celery, dill and Tabasco in a soft bun. Delish. We then tasted some oysters topped with a slight dollop of kimchi. For our third course, we tasted some halibut cheeks, served with hen of the woods mushrooms, spruce and persimmon that was quite tasty. We then sampled some charred cabbage topped with pork and pine nuts and Pok Pok Som sauce. This course was flavourful, but the portion was perhaps a little too big, considering the amount of dishes we were savouring that evening.

 

 

speckled trout – spot prawn, camelina, smoked milk

speckled trout – spot prawn, camelina, smoked milk

The next dish consisted of Speckled trout topped with a prawn and served in a sauce of smoked milk. The delicate fish blended perfectly with the sauce.  We then tasted a sunchoke dish served with salt cod, preserved walnut and clay pepper. It was a delicious way to enjoy sun chokes. I never knew this root vegetable could taste so good. A beautiful slice of chicken served with carrot and an egg yolk on the side capped off the savoury dishes.

Just when we thought that we were this wonderful meal had come to and end, chef Matt served up a most impressive dessert! One of half of the dish was chocolate, served up in five different textures. The other half consisted of caramelized apples, which were punctuated with hints of cedar and cashews. Both desserts were equally a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.

We were both extremely grateful for this experience. It was great to sample a menu hand picked by the chef and, in a way, plunge into Matt Blond in’s culinary universe. I am looking forward to return and get to see how the Momofuku franchise will evolve over the next few months.

Momofuku – Daishő
Third Floor
190 University Avenue (University and Adelaide)
Toronto, M5H 0A3
http://momofuku.com/toronto/daisho/

* Unfortunaely, the sometimes blurry lens of the iPhone don’t always do justice to the look of the dishes. 

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Yours Truly: a postcard from Ossington

Carrot, pickled, spelt, ramps and malt.

I’ve always had a fondness for the Ossington strip. Its bars and restaurants are always a pleasant escape from the routine. After a leisurely stroll in what will soon be our new neighbourhood, my partner Eric and I set foot at Yours Truly. We were both wondering whether the restaurant whose name inspired by message found in a greeting card would be anything worth to write home about… Turns out it did, hence the blog entry.

Opened in December 2011, Yours Truly offers an ever-changing tasting menu and appetizers that vary with seasonal ingredients. This format is a perfect way to step out and try new things; so that’s exactly what we did by ordering the veg and meat tasting menus.

Our culinary journey began with a small jar of turnip and cucumber soup accompanied with chilli powder covered popcorn as well as some pickled apple. The creamy soup hit home with it pieces of cucumber and hint of pepper. It served as great promise of things to come.

The Beetroot appetizer came extremely well presented. Slices of tea-poached beets were served alongside thinly shaved pickled beets, yogurt cubes and a rye-quinoa-labneh crêpe. What this course lacked in quantity, it sure made up in taste.

For the next course, the veg option consisted of pickled carrot served with radish and cashews and carrot purée while the meat option served up trout served with a carrot purée, radish cashes and oyster sauce. This was by far the best course of the meal for both of us. Every element of our dishes was spot on! The lone downside: we would have enjoyed much more pickled carrot.

For the main course, Eric enjoyed the gnocchi served with crème fraîche in a leek and onion broth. The gnocchi was a little on the soft side, but the onion broth was delish. The Chantecler Chicken roulade served on a bed of mashed potatoes and curds served up some great flavours, but the texture left somewhat to be desired.

The meal concluded with a vanilla perfumed jasmine rice and tapioca pudding. It was served with coffee in a French-press in which the water was ladled with care.

With their food, Yours Truly wants to “bring down the wall between the kitchen and diners”. The restaurant achieves just that when the cooks step out to the tables to present their dishes. A small detail, that makes you forgive what may have seemed somewhat of a long wait between courses.

With that service approach and creative tasting menu it will be interesting to see how Yours Truly grows with time.

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Spotted: a new face on Bloorcourt

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Bloorcourt is welcoming a new face. The Rustic Owl. According to their Tumblr page, The Rustic Owl is an art gallery and café that will “serve as a stage for upcoming and new artists, designers and photographers.”

Intrigued by this new source of art and caffeine.

Finally!

At last, my endless bouts of procrastination will come to an end! I’ve finally a) kicked myself in the rear and b) found an idea to spark my first food related entry. More on this later.

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