Friday, 30 November 2012



164 Ossington Ave
Toronto ON
Service: 3 / 4
Ambiance: 3 / 4
Food: 2 . 5 / 4
Price: $$

After a day full of DIY projects gone wrong, my friend DF and I decided to go out for a nice dinner. Together, we are always looking for new places to try, and one of us had heard of a good review about the tiny little fusion restaurant Hawker Bar tucked away on the Ossington strip. This eatery does not take reservations, so they recommend you come earlier than you want to eat to get your name down on the list. The place only seats about 20 people, with only two tables that seat more than 2 guests. 

We started off with the 1LB OF SINGAPORE STYLE CHICKEN WINGS. The wings were flash fried and tossed in a sweet chili soy sauce and sliced fresh red chilies.  Let me tell you, I have never had such tasty wings in my life. They were just the right mix of sticky, sweet and spicy. Although this menu option is under the snacks column, this is a dish that needs to be shared; we each had about 5 wings and were quite full when we were done.

At first we were a little sad about how full we were because we had lots of food still coming; but when we saw the HAINAESE CHICKEN RICE arrive, we were no longer sad. The poached chicken was served over fragrant rice, and accompanied by chili sauce, ginger puree and sweet dark soy sauce. It sounded much more exciting than it turned out to be, particularly because we had to mix the ingredients into a sauce ourselves. The dish tasted as bland and boring as it looked. 

It was the  HAWKER LASKA LEMAK which specifically drew us to the restaurant. The coconut chili soup was served in a large bowl with rice noodles, tofu puffs, snow peas, red peppers eggplant, broccoli, crispy noodles and a deep-fried egg. The broth was very thick and resembled more of a coconut curry than a soup.  I would suggest ordering a side rice to go with this dish; it was too rich on its own. Beware it can be very spicy; DF had a hard time getting through it.

Would we go back? only for the wings

The Singapore Style Chicken wings

Hawker Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 21 November 2012



601 King Street West
Toronto (416) 504 7867

Service: 3 . 5 / 4
Ambiance: 3 .75 / 4
Food: 3 . 5 / 4
Price: $$$$

As a huge Top Chef fan, LEE has been a on the top of my must go list for the past while. When my mom's birthday came around, I knew it would be a great time to check this restaurant out. Although on the night we went Susur Lee was not in, we still had a fabulous meal enjoying his unique creations. The decor is classy yet causal,  providing both lounge and restaurant seating depending on your preference.  Our waiter recommend we order about a dish and a half per person, so we ordered six of the family-style dishes for the four of us. We found that to be plenty for us.

As soon as we saw the CHEESE BURGER SPRING ROLL we knew we would have to give them a try; when else would we get a chance to try this? The hot, crispy spring roll was stuffed with seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese and drizzled with a smoked chili mayo which packed some heat. Our waiter informed us that the chef intended for the roll atop iceberg lettuce and  pickled veggies  to be eaten as a one package deal.  It really did taste just like a cheese burger. It was definitely a must try once menu item, but  I don't know if we would order it again.

Of course we had to try the famous SINGAPOREAN STYLE SLAW, one of LEE's most well-known dishes. We were all impressed by the presentation of this dish and couldn't wait to dig in. The waiter explained the ingredients - all 19 of them. He then tossed the slaw for us explaining that it needed to be mixed thoroughly in order to get all 19 flavours in each bite. My mom could not stop raving about the tastes. She loved the sweet, sour and spicy mix that came from all items blending together.

We also ordered the GARLIC TIGER SHRIMP. They were grilled with a tangy spiced tomato jam and soya bean crumbs. The huge  shrimp were well flavoured. The spicy jam went well with the fresh pickled green papaya which lay on top of the succulent prawns. The dish also came with two potato pea croquettes. The croquettes reminded me of a veggie samosa because of their light curry flavour. Mmmmmm - all of the elements on the plate were to perfection.

If you know my family then you know we love scallops. So the SPICED CRUSTED DIVER SCALLOPS were a no brainer. The crust was made of spiced Chinese bean pesto, which added a nice texture to the smooth scallops. Atop each scallop was  a slice of fresh grapefruit and crispy fried bacon. The citrus from the fresh grapefruit was a pleasant companion to the salty bacon and earthy flavour of the scallops.

Since I was the Top Chef fan at the table, I convinced my family to order the TOP CHEF GREEN CURRY CHICKEN(Susur's winning dish as made in the show). Large chunks of chicken were splashed with the spiced tomato jam, chili mint and coconut green curry sauce. The chicken was accompanied by a pea polenta pancake that was delicious - better than the chicken, to be honest. Although it was award-winning on the show, it was not our favourite dish of the night; as we found the chicken to be a little dry.

Lastly, was the succulent JERK SPICY PORK RIBS. The ribs were coated in a scotch bonnet sauce, ginger, fresh mango, diced veggies and a mango puree. The pork was juicy and extremely tender; it easily fell of the bone. This dish left us all licking our fingers.  We could not get enough of that scotch bonnet sauce.

Would we go back? Yes
Garlic Tiger Shrimp

Lee Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 14 November 2012



488 Wellington St W
Toronto, ON

Ambiance: 4 / 4
Service: 3 . 75 / 4
Food: 3 . 75 / 4
Price: $$$

We arrived at Marben late one Friday night. The restaurant was buzzing. Luckily we had perfect timing and were able to be seated right away. We sat at the back in a cozy spot near the open kitchen.  The restaurant had an interesting edgy, yet rustic vibe; as the night went on we continued to notice more aspects of the decor.  The staff were all very hip, welcoming and very knowledgeable about the items on the menu.  

As we sat down our server was quick to bring us WARM BREAD, inform us about the menu and their daily specials, and take  our drink orders. Right away, we could tell the service was going to be great.

We started off with the MARBEN'S CHARCUTERIE BOARD. It was served with pickled carrots, seasonal jam, toast and house mustards. We appreciated the classic meat choices but our favourite was the grilled salumi, which was a unique add to the otherwise standard charcuterie.

To go along with our mains we decided to try the PATATAS BRAVAS; house cut fries, toped with spicy tomato sauce, smoked paprika and garlic aioli. The fires were hot, fresh and well seasoned, and the spicy tomato sauce was tasy, but more smoky than spicy.

Our mains were both small but extremely tasty. I had the PASTA SPECIAL, which was house made ravioli stuffed with fresh scallops and covered in a rich, chunky lobster bisque and crispy red apple slices. The fresh pasta was so delicate it melted in your mouth; the soft, smooth scallop filling went harmoniously with he crisp sour apple, and the rich lobster bisque. Thank goodness the portion was small, because I would not have been able to stop myself until it was finished.

AM ordered the DINGO FARM'S ROASED RED ANGUS BEEF: 6 week dry-aged grass-fed beef, with bacon and crispy green beans. Once again the portion was quite small but large in flavours; the meat was perfectly cooked and well seasoned.

Would we go back ? Yes

Pasta Special

Marben on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 7 November 2012




782 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON M4M1H4
(416) 519-1851

Service: 2.5 / 4
Ambiance: 3 / 4
Food: 2.5 / 4

We finally made it out to Table 17, a cute little restaurant in the Riverdale area. The decor was simple, but made an impact: plenty of small tables for two in a modern-country atmosphere. We arrived at about 7:45 and the restaurant was starting to fill up, so make sure you make a reservation if you're interested in giving it a try. We really wanted to love this restaurant; the menu had all of our favourites. However, in the end it just didn't come together for us. The food was fresh, but nothing wowed us.

We started off with the SALUMI BOARD:  a selection of local artisanal cured meats, accompanied by a small portion of picked vegetables. We were not overly impressed by the selection of meats, and they were all sliced so thin we could barely taste them.

Next, we had the OYSTERS. That days variety were the Kumamoto. They were creamy and fresh. As always, we asked for some hot sauce to top them off.

I chose the DIVER SCALLOPS which were roasted with fresh bay leaves, served with creamed corn and tomatillo salsa. The scallops- nicely seared and cooked perfectly- were the most enjoyable dish of the night.

We also ordered the BEEF TARTARE. The cold chopped tenderloin of Ontario beef was  mixed with roasted beets, and served with country toast and frites. We were so excited to dive into this dish. Unfortunately all we tasted were the roasted beets, which overwhelmed the flavour of the tenderloin.

The  FRITES, accompanied the beef tartar, they were crispy, hot and well salted. However, the lemony mayonnaise for dipping was not to our taste. 

Would we go back? Most likely not

The Diver Scallops

Table 17 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 1 November 2012



51 Baldwin Street
Toronto, ON, M5T1Y9
Service: 3 / 4
Ambiance 2 . 5 / 4
Food 2 . 5 / 4
Price: $

There have been a lot of Ramen restaurants opening up in Toronto, but Kinton Ramen has really made a name for itself in the ramen market. It's a tinny little restaurant tucked away on Baldwin Street. The restaurant has an open kitchen with bar seating and one large communal table. As a result, the small space gets quite busy, often causing lines outside.

We started off with the KIMCHI which was tasty, however, it was quite spicy. It's freshness and crunch was a nice accompaniment to our ramen.

We also shared the SPICY GARLIC RAMEN with regular broth. It was toped with bean sprouts, green onions, pork shoulder and shaved garlic. The noodles were cooked well and had a nice texture, but the broth itself was rather bland, lacking punch and heat. The garlic ended up masking the flavour of the pork broth, and the fresh toppings had no chance to stand out.

Would we go back? Probably not. For  hot noodle soup, we would prefer to get some Pho.

Kinton Ramen  on Urbanspoon