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At Pukka, owner Derek Valleau pours the wine.
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At Pukka, tapas-style starters like papri chat with puffed rice are a big hit.
Skin + Bones
980 Queen E, at Carlaw, 416-524-5209, skinandbonesto.com, @skinandbonesto Ex-Enoteca Sociale partner Daniel Clarke's stylish Leslieville wine bar might be more at home on King West, but its moderately priced brunch menu and supplementary all-you-can-eat buffet - buy any main and the buffet's an additional 3 bucks - fits this brunchiest of nabes like a glove. Best: gluten-free porchetta Bennys with sous-vide poached eggs in hollandaise over cheesy polenta; buttermilk fried chicken with Asian apple slaw; sides of triple-cooked potato wedges with house-made ranch dressing; for the rug rats, peanut butter 'n' jelly French toast; from the buffet, house-baked cinnamon buns, cheese puffs and palmiers; house-cured bresaola and salami; granola with high-fat yogurt with syrup-poached pears. Complete brunches for $30 per person, including tax, tip and a mimosa. Average main $15. Open for brunch Sunday 10 am to 2 pm; dinner Sunday to Thursday 5 to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 5 pm to 1 am. Closed some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNN
328 Wellington W, at Peter, 416-935-0400, luckeerestaurant.com, @LuckeeTO Not content with Bent and Lee - not to mention his outpost in Singapore and the upcoming projects at the airport and One World Trade Center, New York City - superstar chef Susur Lee turns his visionary hand to dim sum with spectacular results. Best: cheung fun rice rolls stuffed with poached chicken, caramelized onion and crunchy deep-fried rice paper; dumplings of buttery lobster and asparagus, or spicy Swatow-style chicken with pickled celery; classic har gow stuffed with plump shrimp; minced chicken 'n' shrimp sui mai spiked with orange peel; deep-fried cubes of house-made tofu studded with fresh corn; braised beef and shiitake mushrooms bao; to finish, bite-sized spirals of sponge cake in chocolate ganache. Complete dim sum meals for $35 per person, including tax, tip and tea. Open for dim sum Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 3 pm; à la carte dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5:30 to 11 pm. Bar menu daily 3 pm to 1 am. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN
778 St Clair W, at Arlington, 416-342-1906, pukka.ca, @pukkatoronto Harsh Chawla and Derek Valleau's stylish uptown bistro goes where few local Indian restos ever venture - upscale. A creative kitchen, smooth service and noise levels that allow for conversation make full houses the norm rather than the exception. Reservations essential most nights. Best: tapas-style starters like papri chat with puffed rice, ripe mango and Granny Smith apple dressed with pomegranate seeds in sweet yogurt dressing; spicy south Indian fried Chicken 65 garnished with nasturtiums; shareable mains like nutty butter chicken with wilted fenugreek leaves; smoky lamb chop "lollipops" à la Vancouver's Vikram Vij in minty cream sauce; sides of French green beans with caramelized onion and shredded coconut; baskets of buttery garlic naan and crisp whole wheat rotis; to finish, sundae-like Eton Mess in pomegranate syrup and sweet lassi cream topped with rosewater-soaked meringue. Complete dinners for $60 per person, including tax, tip and a glass of wine. Average main $22. Open nightly 5 to 10 pm. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN