Teara Lab – Closed

While I was in elementary school my mom packed me a sandwich for lunch everyday, but never managed to master them. I told her I liked mustard and salami sandwiches, my mom took that feedback and added mustard to every sandwich, including tuna and egg ones. Then if we were out of mustard for salami, she’d substitute with ketchup, because ketchup was still a sauce and I liked sauces. While my mom’s idea of innovation led to odd flavour pairings, Teara Lab’s creativity translated to unique and delicious fusion sandwiches. If only they were around 15 years ago to inspire my mom.

Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.

I was invited to the soft opening on Teara Lab, a new fast casual restaurant specializing in Japanese fusion sandwiches located across the street from the UofT St. George campus. The innovative sandwich creations come from the head chef of KaKa All You Can Eat, currently one of the most popular Japanese restaurants in Markham. The shop has been fully renovated from it’s previous incarnation with pristine white walls and modern panel molding. Black iron cafe style chairs and marble topped tables added to the elegant feel of the space.

A couple of other bloggers and I decided to split our orders, so we could try a quarter of each sandwich.

  • Red Wine Braised Short Rib Sandwich – Served on a thick hotdog bun, the short rib was tender with a lingering red wine flavour. This sandwich had tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise and was topped with crispy onions, havarti cheese and sprinkled with seaweed powder. Of the four sandwiches I tried, this was the most savoury and filling one.
  • Tonkatsu Pork Burger – A deep fried pork cutlet served on a burger bun with honey dijon mustard, shredded cabbage, tomato and cucumber. I found the breading on the tonkatsu lost its crunch under the sauce and other ingredients. While the pork was tender, the seasoning was mild.
  • Teriyaki Chicken Burger – Chunks of baked dark meat served on a burger bun with lettuce, tomato, bacon and wasabi mayo. I loved the wasabi mayo that added heat and creaminess. I also liked that dark meat was used, instead of white, which I prefer and find tastier.
  • Soy Glazed Pork Belly Sandwich – A thick slab of glazed pork belly was served between slices of white bread with layers of kimchi, avocado and nori. I loved this sandwich. Since the sandwich was built in layers, each bite had a variety of textures. There was heat fro and acidity from the kimchi, creaminess from the avocado and a hint of umami from the seaweed. The pork belly itself was sweet, savoury and had the fat rendered well.

Each sandwich could be ordered as a combo with a side and drink. Currently the sides available were seasoned fries (with seaweed powder) or yam fries. The drink selection is broader and more Asian inspired with fruit teas, milk teas, slushes, creamas and ramune.

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Teara Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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