Paris Paris wine bar on a bud­get bud­get

Our two in­trepid food­ies went for a date night that won’t break the bank

Richmond Hill Post - - Food - by Caro­line Ak­sich and Karolyne El­la­cott

We boldly ar­rive at Paris Paris sans reso on a Satur­day eve. We brace our­selves for a wait, but lo — there are two seats just for us at the bar. Ev­ery­one’s prob­a­bly still lounging in Trin­ity Bell­woods. Tonight we dine on $100 even, with tax and tip in­cluded.

A hip­ster haven

Lo­cated in the heart of Hip­ster­ville (a.k.a. DuWest), this wine-and-snack bar comes to us from Jonathan Poon. His Bar Fancy chicken and Su­per­point slices have al­ready wooed the west end, so Paris Paris was des­tined to be well re­ceived be­fore ever pour­ing its first glass of cel­e­bra­tory Ben­jamin Bridge sparkling. (The es­o­teric wine list — put to­gether by Krista Oben of Grape Witches — fo­cuses on nat­u­rally pro­duced and bio­dy­namic bot­tles.)

Se­lect­ing the food and bevvies

Here, there’s no skip­ping out on vino. We’re tempted by the Whis­per­ing An­gel rosé and the Bret Brothers Chardon­nay. How­ever, at $9 a glass, the house white (a crisp Vinho Verde) fits the bud­get.

The menu grabs at in­flu­ences from all over the map: jump­ing from North­east Asian (stuffed crab claw) to Mid­dle Eastern (egg­plant flat­bread) to Por­tuguese chicken. Poon, who we run into on the street af­ter, says that the thread that pulls the menu to­gether is that these are all the dishes he just loves to eat.

Plates for shar­ing

Bread is scarfed down first. It’s the epit­ome of what sour­dough should be: A crusty, seed-laced ex­te­rior that gives way to a chewy, tangy in­te­rior.

Left with $52, we de­cide that a) dessert is nec­es­sary and b) that roast chicken seems like it’ll stretch out our cash nicely. Fried smelts and a snow crab claw pad out the or­der.

The snow crab ar­rives first. The deep­fried ball, adorned by a pro­trud­ing pin­cer, is stuffed with a mix of shrimp and scal­lop mousse. Then come the ramp-dusted smelts. The savoury por­tion of the meal closes with tongue-sear­ing piri piri chicken –– moist with crisp skin in a chili laced oil that begs for starch to sop it up.

The grand fi­nale

Full, but not to burst­ing, it’s time for dessert. When a sparkler-gar­nished plate is dropped in front of us, Karolyne looks con­fused. Be­fore spout­ing that it’s not her birth­day, it clicks: This is the Cherry Bombe we or­dered. Dusted with pop rocks and stuffed with amarena cher­ries, the mil­len­nial pink dessert is a huge hit.

Clock­wise from top: Piri piri chicken, white wine and sour­dough, Caro­line and Karolyne

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