Name: Hudson Kitchen
Contact Info: 800 Dundas St. W., 416-644-8839, hudsonkitchen.com, @hudsonkitchen
Neighbourhood: Little Portugal
Owners: Borys Chabursky and Vince Antonacci
Executive Chef: Robbie Hojilla, former sous-chef at Woodlot and chef-de-cuisine at Ursa
The Place: The soon-to-open restaurant shot to instant fame during TIFF 2013 thanks to a formidable lineup of A-list customers, including Colin Firth, Jennifer Aniston and reigning Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt, who scarfed a double order of gourmet tater tots during the after-party for 12 Years a Slave. Unlike most celebrity hangouts, the 1,700-square-foot space is decidedly low-key: the walls are exposed brick, the floorboards are distressed and linens of any colour are nonexistent. Despite the square-footage, the restaurant feels intimate with three separate dining areas and a 45-seat, street-facing patio, which was walled off during the film festival to discourage nosy passers-by.
The Food: Contemporary American food with a focus on seasonal produce. Dishes draw on chef Hojilla’s French training and Filipino heritage, like sous-vide chicken adobo and a terrine version of sisig, a Filipino pork dish made from boiling and frying a pig’s head. Beginning in November, Sunday brunches will include eggs Benny, steak tartare and pastries from Thuet.
The Drinks: International wines and classic cocktails. Matcha green tea is whisked tableside.
• 70 seats, plus 45 on the patio
• 7 months to renovate the space
• 3 separate buildings combined into a single space (the former occupants: a contemporary art gallery, the Palmerson Café and Jamie Kennedy’s now-defunct Provenance Regional Cuisine)
• 1 private dining room (in the wine cellar)
• 1 attempt by a TIFF-obsessed star gazer to gouge a spy hole in the wooden fence erected to shield celebs from exactly that kind of behaviour