After nearly a year of preparation and several last-minute delays, the new Guu (559 Bloor West, at Bathurst, 647-343-1101, guu-izakaya.com) finally threw open its doors Sunday. A zoo from the get-go, the latest outpost of the popular izakaya features a shoe-free tatami room and a glassed-in holding pen out front for those waiting in line. No more queuing for two hours in the cold and rain. Of course, when you leave, you now have to push your way out through the mob pushing their way in. Also note that both the Bloor and Church locations now open an hour earlier at 4 pm Friday through Sunday.
Up on St Clair West, Vanipha has quietly closed after a 20-year run. Owner Vanipha Southalak - along with the Bamboo's Wandee Young - is the chef who introduced white-bread Toronto to spicy Thai cooking, first at the Queen Mother and Rivoli back in the 80s, then later at her eponymous eateries in Kensington Market and on Eglinton West in the 90s.
Southalak hasn't hung up her apron for good. Her successful catering business continues and, with daughter Noonie at the helm, the Vanipha line of signature spring rolls and DIY pad thai should be hitting local supermarkets sometime soon.
Ivory goes French
Back downtown, all-you-can-eat buffet Ivory Thailand has called it quits. Once the location of Wandee Young's Young Thailand, the space has morphed into a French bistro called L'Apero (81 Church, at Adelaide, 416-363-0081). Same owners, different chef.