Obi Wan Bul­gogi a bowl lotta fun

Yonge ’n’ Blyth­wood’s new­est res­i­dent Koek Koek is both health­ful and stylish

Annex Post - - FOOD - by Karolyne El­la­cott

From the out­side, you might mis­take it for a new fur­ni­ture shop. With its dark grey ex­te­rior, floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, tufted seat­ing — not to men­tion a highly pho­to­genic floor — Koek Koek is a dream for any de­sign lover. So it only makes sense that Nikki Hall, with her back­ground in build­ing, would open up such a stylish eatery.


A happy res­i­dent of the Lyt­ton Park nabe for a hand­ful of years now, Hall found her­self com­ing up short when seek­ing out healthy and tasty grub. Chas­ing around four kids (yup, four) at home while try­ing to sa­ti­ate their food needs, Hall knew that other fam­i­lies in the area likely shared the same life­style. Although she would be gun­ning for sal­ads, her kids didn’t nec­es­sar­ily have the same meal in mind. The so­lu­tion, of course, sounded sim­ple: just open up her own restau­rant. Prob­lem solved. Although it may have been eas­ier said than done, the re­sults are a tes­ta­ment to a hands-on ap­proach and a win­ning team.

“We built ev­ery­thing,” Hall says, point­ing around the space. This in­cludes a lengthy com­mu­nal ta­ble that does its best to show­case a tree (Hall se­lected the perf­fect one to be felled), tree stumps dipped in gold (there’s a theme here) and some quirky touches like a brassiere hang­ing in the ladies’ room (ask Hall for the tale). Three months later and Koek Koek was ready to open.


When it came to de­sign­ing the menu, Hall wanted ev­ery­thing to be sim­ple, de­li­cious and made from scratch daily.

“It re­ally is how I want to eat,” Hall says. Of­fer­ings range from those afore­men­tioned sal­ads, which can run the gamut from beets-on-beets to cele­riac wed­ded to ap­ple in a mus­tard vinai­grette. Nat­u­rally health­ful toasts made the cut, too. One pick ar­rives slathered with al­mond but­ter and topped with ba­nana and chia seeds.


Bowls are an­other main draw. The Obi Wan Bul­gogi ($15) has been the top seller to date. (We’re pretty sure that named has helped steer its path to pop­u­lar­ity.) Be­gin­ning with a bed of black rice, the meal-in-a-bowl is loaded up with pur­ple cab­bage, roasted broc­col­ini and a poached egg. The Korean an­gle comes from house-made kim­chi and bul­gogi steak strips.

“If you’re eat­ing in, we make ev­ery­thing à la minute,” Hall says. How­ever, many cus­tomers do just grab ’n’ go, es­pe­cially when it comes to their take-out hot din­ners meant to feed a busy fam­ily of four.

De­spite all of the signs in­di­cat­ing other­wise, some folks still think it’s a Sub­way. “I still get peo­ple com­ing in and ask­ing for a foot-long!” Hall laughs.

They’re in for a pleas­ant sur­prise.

Koek Koek, 2685 Yonge St., 416-901-0209

Koek Koek’s best­selling meal

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