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The Middle Eastern snack bar is enticing diners and keeping spirits high through the winter with an outdoor dining camp
Outdoor dining is tricky business.
Restaurants across Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York Region have shut down indoor dining once again, following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and a return to modified Stage 2 rules. Some restaurants are dealing with limited patio space, some are creating bubble domes to keep diners warm, some have had their heat lamps stolen.
With the cold temperatures and rain deterring more people as we inch closer to November, restaurants are fighting Mother Nature.
To entice diners, some restaurants are getting innovative. Fet Zun, one of Anthony Rose’s handful of restaurants on the Dupont strip, opened a winter dining camp last week. If outdoor dining is going to stick around, a bit of whimsy and imagination will be crucial.
Chef Rose and his business partner Robert Wilder took over the Madame Boeuf space in the back of Fet Zun, typically an outdoor burger joint in the summer, and transformed it into an outdoor camping-like experience.
The concept is complete with private tents, fire pits, heat lamps and cozy blankets for couples to snuggle under. Patrons are encouraged to sip a chartreuse-spiked hot chocolate, a liqueur made with over 100 herbs or a spiked hot toddy to stay warm while waiting for food to arrive.
The menu lends itself well to the relaxed outdoor dining experience. The mezes, dips and shareable plates keep things casual. It’s full of a combination of dishes from all over the Middle East, from Israel to Lebanon. The comfort food amps up the coziness.
Standouts include the pita topped with za’atar and sesame, labneh, chunky hummus, saffron basmati rice, a roast pumpkin dip called chirshi, haddock schnitzel, braised brisket and chicken shawarma.
Reservations must be made in advance for outdoor dining. The restaurant is still doing pick up and delivery for those who would rather camp out at home.