YoBlo welcomes buzzy Laotian resto
Plus a Peruvian-via-Montreal transplant and a noted restaurateur’s new space
Sabai Sabai has entered into its second incarnation with a move to the Yonge and Bloor area, a doubling of its capacity and a renewed focus on Laotian hospitality and preparations.
Owners Jason Jiang and Seng Luong returned from a few weeks visiting their home country with the goal of “bringing back the essence of Laos.” Chef Nuit Regular (partner in the business and chef-owner of Sukhothai and Pai) has helped to translate some of Jiang and Luong’s personal recipes as well as infuse her classic northern Thai essence alongside some new Laotian specialties into the menu.
Green papaya salads ($11) are mixed by mortar and pestle, incorporating sweet and salty Thai blue crab, crisp long bean and house-made fish sauce, called padaek, done with fermented freshwater fish and shrimp paste.
No oil is used to sauté the minced pork laap Lao lettuce wraps ($12), infused with an aromatic bouquet of fresh herbs like Vietnamese finger mint, coriander sawtooth mint, lemon grass, lime leaf, ginger and shallot.
An 11-item vegan menu is also available daily, with classics like the tom ka soup ($7.50), eggplant stir-fry with Thai basil and red pepper ($10), as well as the slender mixed rice noodles that form the base for coconut mee kati ($13) with tamarind sauce, king oyster mushrooms and tofu, instead of the chicken and egg thread options found on the main menu (Sabai Sabai, 81 Bloor St. E., 647-748-4225).
IT’S ALL ABOUT PERU
Mochica, a Toronto outpost of one of Montreal’s Peruvian restaurants, now occupies the space at 614 College St. The address, near Bathurst, had been home to Pisco 1641.
The restaurant’s name refers to the Moche civilization that predated the Incas in the narrow strip of Peru between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes.
Co-owner and chef Martin Oré, who is originally from Trujillo, opened Mochica in Montreal 12 years ago to pay homage to his roots.
Sabai Sabai’s pork belly Lao sausage