Alma

North Toronto Post - - Chefs Pick -

CHEF CRAIG WONG, PATOIS “Chef Anna Chen elo­quently cooks with the best in­gre­di­ents of the sea­son. Ev­ery­thing is de­li­cious.”

POST CITY’S TAKE: For chef Anna Chen’s first stand-alone restau­rant, she opted to open a 32 seater in the west end. Blonde wood ac­cents the min­i­mal­ist room, and soul­ful tunes play over­head, fore­shad­ow­ing Chen’s highly el­e­gant take on com­fort food. Bouyed by her knowl­edge from stints at Figo and Scaramouche — plus an up­bring­ing in In­dia — chef has com­posed a sea­sonal menu that is dis­tinctly her own. Ev­ery­thing is made in-house, from the char­cu­terie (salami! Chi­nese sausage!) to the soy sauce. Salt Spring mus­sels and pearls of fre­gola pasta bathe in toma­toey broth, spiked with fennel and Szechuan pep­per­corn for the oc­ca­sional kick to the mouth. Ad­dic­tive sweet potato gets fried in tem­pura bat­ter and dusted with nori, ar­riv­ing with spicy tog­a­rashi aïoli. The afore­men­tioned soy sauce is found in one of the menu main­stays; a lo­tus leaf is home to chicken, shi­itake ’shrooms and rice that’s cooked in shi­itake broth for added earth­i­ness. Crisp nuggets of fer­mented rap­ini fin­ish it off. Ser­vice is in­sight­ful and warm. 1194 Bloor St. W.

L–R: Chef Anna Chen, Duf­ferin Grove’s best new spot for fried cauliflower

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