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Splendido chef Victor Barry is opening a new café in Kensington Market


Meatball sits outside Fika (Image: Nikki Leigh McKean)

In the last year, new gourmet food shops, like the refurbished Sanagan’s Meat Locker, Hogtown Charcuterie and Hooked, have injected some artisanal style into Kensington’s charmingly grungy mix of vintage clothing stores and veggie stands. Now Splendido chef and co-owner Victor Barry and wife Nikki Leigh McKean are upping the Market’s craft quotient with a café called Fika that’s inspired by Sweden’s laid-back coffee houses (“fika” means “to go for coffee” or “coffee break” in Swedish). The new space, which is in a quaint and colourful row house at the south end of Kensington Avenue, doesn’t have a kitchen, so cinnamon buns, paninis and daily soups will be prepared in Splendido’s venerable kitchen and delivered to the café each morning. Fika is slated to open in late May, and in the meantime, the couple are tracking their progress on Twitter and Instagram: where we discovered the chef known for running one of Toronto’s most regimented kitchens is also a snugglemonster.