Bayview Post - - Food -

His culi­nary roots started at home with his Hav­ing tired of life as a civil ser­vant with the Hous­ing So­ci­ety of Que­bec, Oré de­cided to turn pas­sion into a ca­reer and en­rolled in the Cor­don Bleu culi­nary school in Lima, study­ing tra­di­tional Peru­vian cui­sine. Oré is a restau­rant vet­eran who also owns Hua­caMar and Ce­viche Bar in Tru­jillo and the Mochi­can Palace Ho­tel, a five-star ho­tel in Huan­chaco, Peru.

The menu at Mochica is seafood heavy, pay­ing homage to Tru­jillo, a coastal city abun­dant in fish and shell­fish. Ce­viche features promi­nently on the menu, al­though, if you want to ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing that is re­flec­tive of Peru­vian cul­ture, you’ll want to opt for the tira­dito, a cousin to ce­viche that was in­flu­enced by Peru’s Ja­panese ex-pats.

Meatier op­tions in­clude the an­tic­u­cho de cora­zon or grilled beef heart. If you’re feel­ing re­ally ad­ven­tur­ous, there’s also al­paca on of­fer. Tra­di­tion­ally, a llama was sac­ri­ficed to the gods, but Oré has de­cided to source his meat from the al­paca (llama’s smaller cousin) farms of Que­bec. For those who have never tasted al­paca be­fore, Oré de­scribes it as some­where be­tween lamb and veal. The drinks menu is pisco-heavy, from the tra­di­tional pisco sour made from lime, sugar and spir­its to more un­con­ven­tional of­fer­ings like pas­sion fruit (Mochica, 614 Col­lege St., 647-352-1641).


Noted restau­ra­teur Hemant Bhag­wani, of Lea­side’s amaz­ing Amaya, has opened his new­est project, Leela In­dian Food Bar, in the Junc­tion. The restau­rant’s moniker is a nod to — an epic play that de­picts the life of Rama, an in­car­na­tion of the god Vishnu, and is staged over a 10-day pe­riod (or some­times longer). Bhag­wani wanted to con­nect the im­agery of rich colours, sets and his­tory with the vi­brant flavours of In­dian cui­sine. An artis­tic de­pic­tion of Rama serves as the fo­cal point of the restau­rant’s decor.

“In­dian food has be­come too bor­ing,” says Bhag­wani, be­fore stat­ing that the cui­sine is ei­ther tra­di­tional or go­ing mod­ern. He hopes to play with recipes that are rooted in tra­di­tion and re­fine the flavours. For in­stance, his HB’s but­ter chicken ($12.95) is smoked over char­coal, and in place of the com­mon canned to­ma­toes that most restau­rants use in their recipes Bhag­wani uses ex­tremely ripe to­ma­toes to give it in­ten­sity of flavour.

You’ll also find menu items that pay homage to cuisines that have been in­flu­enced by In­dia. The kad­hai “kali mirch” chicken ($9.95), for ex­am­ple, is Chi­nese wok-fried with black pep­per and tossed with onions and banana pep­pers. The pa­neer lasagne ($10.95) subs in thin slices of pa­neer as lasagna sheets and minced egg­plant as the fill­ing. The in­spi­ra­tion be­hind it stems from a trip Bhag­wani took to Mi­ami, where he dined on zuc­chini lasagna at a plant-based restau­rant. His “In­di­an­ized” ver­sion is a dish he’s par­tic­u­larly proud of (Leela In­dian Food Bar, 3108 Dun­das St. W., 416-769-7777). lo­cated at 1438 Yonge St., re­ceived a con­di­tional pass fol­low­ing a Feb. 6 in­spec­tion. One cru­cial in­frac­tion was ob­served, and the es­tab­lish­ment failed to en­sure the pres­ence of the holder of a valid food han­dler’s cer­tifi­cate. It passed a Feb. 7 rein­spec­tion. lo­cated at 649 Yonge St., re­ceived a con­di­tional pass fol­low­ing a Feb. 8 in­spec­tion. Of three in­frac­tions ob­served, one was con­sid­ered cru­cial, one sig­nif­i­cant and one mi­nor in sever­ity. It passed a Feb. 10 rein­spec­tion.

Bagel, What A

The Bagel House,

Clock­wise from top: Leela’s chicken naan, their pa­neer lasagna and Mochica’s mero a lo ma­cho seafood dish Dumpling Queen,

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