Frederic Laliberté

The Dish

Restaurants

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New Reviews: The Grove, Hawker Bar and Actinolite

A refined British pub, a homey Hallam bistro and a Singaporean snack bar

The Grove star ½
1214 Dundas St. W., 416-588-2299

New Reviews: The GroveChef Ben Heaton worked in some of Toronto’s best kitchens—One, Colborne Lane and Globe Bistro—before opening this new Dundas West spot with former One colleague Richard Reyes. Judging by the confidence and creativity on display in his British cuisine, Heaton has never been more at home. The long, dimly lit room has the vibe of a top-notch local, with cask-conditioned beers on tap, Britpop on the speakers and a Wimbledon-worthy Pimm’s cup executed to sour, cucumbery perfection. Minimalist menu descriptions make every dish a surprise. A stunning appetizer brings a trio of chubby scallops seared flawlessly (i.e., hardly at all), complemented by granny smith matchsticks, sautéed leeks, celery leaves, pickled walnut and stinging nettles that bring out the depth of the seafood flavour. Mains are prettily plated. The beef two ways—braised short rib and seared, roasted hangar steak—is wond­rously tender, sided by two deep-fried oysters and a bath of briny oyster emulsion. The tart lemon curd with elder­berries and clotted cream scores higher points than the heavy ginger cake with custard and marmalade. French and New World wines by the bottle come dearly, so it’s best to buy by the glass. Closed Mondays. Mains $16–$20.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Hawker Bar, Toronto’s first spot for Singapore-style street food

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Hawker Bar joins the likes of The Saint and Bellwoods Brewery on the strip as the new kids on the Ossington block. Run by a pack of longtime friends—Casimir Alyea, Andrew Mistry and brothers Nicholas and Frederic Laliberté, who are also behind Poutini’s—the joint offers up a first for the city: Singaporean street grub.

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