The latest local resto news, from new locales to new menus
Summer officially gets underway at Harbourfront this weekend when Ras Iville Wright and crew set up their One Love Corn kiosk for an unprecedented eighth season. They’ll be grilling corn on the cob as usual through Labour Day, but the real highlight of the food tent’s card – hell, it’s the only other thing he sells – is his formidable pepperpot soup. Spicy, filling and vegan to boot.
The last time we spoke to Wright he was planning on opening a restaurant and expanding his catering business. What happened, mon?
“Everything is just too expensive,” says Wright, who engineers concrete during the week. “I can’t even afford Kensington Market any more!”
Lee leaves, Bier flows
Susur Lee cooks his last supper at his eponymous King West boîte Saturday night (May 31) before heading off to take a bite out of the Big Apple. Look for a late-summer launch of his still-unnamed resto in the Thompson Group’s latest luxury boutique hotel on the Lower East Side.
Taking up the slack, popular after-work meat market Bier Markt moves into the space formerly occupied by the Amsterdam Brew Pub at Portland and King – much to the dismay of the members of the exclusive Spoke Club located upstairs, we imagine.
For once, the rumours buzzing around that darned Interweb are correct. Rodney Bowers’s highly rated Rosebud (669 Queen West, at Bathurst, 416-703-8810) is for sale. Well, the building is, but Bowers says he’s staying put.
“I have a 15 year-lease,” says the garrulous down-east chef. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Actually, he is. Having placed his long-time sous, Christopher Novelli, in charge of his Queen West kitchen, Bowers has headed over to the east side to take over culinary duties at his equally celebrated Citizen (730 Queen East, at Broadview, 416-465- 0100).
He’s also indulging his Orson Welles obsession with the launch later this month of the Kane Social, a cocktail lounge upstairs from Citizen. And he has plans to bring Rosebud back to his home town of St. John’s this fall.
“I imagine there’ll be a lot of fish,” laughs Bowers.
A few doors east of Citizen at 782 Queen East, Erik Joyal and John Sinopoli of the now-closed Izakaya look set to launch Table 17 in the spot once occupied by the not-so Food Savvy. Instead of Japanese fast food, expect a French bistro and wine bar.
Coincidentally, long-running Le Papillon (69 Front East, at Church, 416-363-0303) has left its lower Church Street digs to move around the corner into what was once Izakaya. Not finished there, it’s about to open a second Le Pap come August on Eastern Avenue near the Fire Academy in Ashbridges Park.
Nearby, Toronto’s best – and only – North Vietnamese pho factory, Hanoi 3 Seasons, branches out with a second location in Leslieville (1135 Queen East, at Bertmount, 416-463-9940) promised for mid-July. Further afield, Spadina’s long-gone Dai Nam has resurfaced in Scarborough as Pho Dai Nam (462 Birchmount, at Danforth Road, 416-694-8808).
On the western front
Back downtown, everyone’s favourite organic roti shop, Pam’s Caribbean Kitchen (1160 Bloor West, at Dufferin, 416-533-3688), has relocated several blocks west of its original home near Dovercourt. And in the same nabe, Saving Grace’s (907 Dundas West, at Bellwoods, 416-703-7368) Monica Miller has just unveiled sister coffee house Saving Gigi (859 Bloor West, at Roxton, no phone).
Five by five
Starting Monday (June 2), the first of a series of five charity dinners to support the Stop Community Food Centre called Cross Town Kitchens takes place at Perigee (55 Mill, at Trinity, 416-364-1397) in the Distillery District. Each five-course prix fixe dinner will feature dishes prepared by five of Toronto’s hottest new chefs, including Chris Brown of Perigee, Bertrand Alépée and Jason Inniss of Amuse-Bouche (see listing, page 69), Craig Alley of Marben (488 Wellington West, at Portland, 416-979-1990), Carlos Hernandez of Torito (see listing, page 77) and Ted Corrado of C5 (100 Queen’s Park, at Bloor, 416-586-7928). Tickets go for $95 ($145 with wine pairing) and are available from the participating restaurants or at crosstownkitchens.com.