- Address: 503 College St, Toronto
- Visited: 08/07/2014, Dinner, 2 people
- Cuisine: Fusion
- Rating: 4.0 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.dailoto.com/
Chef Nick Liu’s long awaited restaurant, DaiLo, found a home this summer in Little Italy in the space previously occupied by Grace restaurant. I was lucky enough to tag along with Monica from The Food Sisterhood to the media preview. We had the chance to explore the restaurant, sample a signature drink in the upstairs bar, Lo Pan, taste appetizers from the menu, and enjoy a seven course meal featuring some of Chef Liu’s favourite, #sickasianfood creations.
Disclaimer: All drinks and dishes were provided free of charge by the restaurant. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
The night started in the upstairs of the restaurant, Lo Pan, a small bar that will feature a limited food menu. The walls were painted emerald green and decorated with gold stencil art of Asian motifs like koi fish and pagoda towers. Lucky cats occupied a shelf behind the bar and old fashioned bird cages hung from the ceiling. In the main dining area, decor continued in the Asian vein with red wood, lacquered tables, blue patterned china, and a large wok lighting fixture. Beaker vases with fresh flowers adorned each table. I loved how the restaurant design clearly paid homage to Chinese culture while being subtle and modern.
Two signature cocktails were served that night, The Tom Yum Booze and Five Spice Dark and Stormy. Both drinks were inventive and had definite Asian influences with lemongrass and five spice infused rum. While the five spice rum was a subtle flavour, lemongrass was the highlight of the spicy, sour Tom Yum Booze. Before dinner, appetizers like Big Mac Boas and Hakka Wontons circulated Lo Pan. All the dishes were so popular, the plates cleared as soon as the servers arrived and rarely made it past the entrance. I squeezed into the crowd but was too late to get my hands on a bao.
Once we moved downstairs and settled at tables, dinner began with a traditional lion dance performance to bring luck and good fortune. Of the 7 dishes we had that night, for me, 3 were unforgettable, 2 were memorable and the last 2 were good but not quite to my taste. Each dish was distinct, and a modern update of traditional Asian flavours. Cilantro, green onion and sesame were used generously as garnish. My favourite dish of the night was the Whole Fried Trout, beautifully filleted into bite size pieces, fried with a light batter and served with a trio of sauces. DaiLo’s menu shows off slow braised meats, tender seafood and unique cooking techniques such as the delicate eggnet that covers a salad of pomelo, bean sprout, green papaya and nut crumble. Chef Liu’s fusion perspective shine best through his inventive dishes like the Crispy Octopus Fresh Roll, which uses a slice of raw jicama as the wrapper.
Smoked Trout Betel Leaves (2/3)
satay peanut sauce, fried shallot
Eggnet Salad (2/3)
green papaya, pomelo, bean sprout, nut crumble, coconut caramel dressing
Crispy Octopus Fresh Rolls (3/3)
red braised pork, Asian garnish,, sambal mayo
Sweet and Sour Pork Hock (3/3)
po po’s original sauce, crispy shallot, garlic and nuts
Singapore Curry Cauliflower (1/3)
purple fingerline potato, garlic scapes, raisin, nuts
Whole Fried Giggi Trout (3/3)
nam jim, green curry aioli, soy glaze
Asian Banana Split (1/3)
caramelized Thai banana, six-spice ice cream, roasted sesame ice cream, spiced chocolate sauce