Leemo Han

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Restaurants

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The Oddseoul brothers are opening a Japanese snack bar on Dundas West

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

The building pictured above looks pretty nondescript, but there are exciting things going on behind the ho-hum facade, which used to house a men’s vintage shop called Black Flower. The space, located directly behind Churchill at 2 Lakeview Avenue (at the corner of Dundas West, across from the Beer Store), will soon be making its debut as Hanmoto, a “Nipponese snack shack” from Leemo and Leeto Han, the brothers behind Ossington snack bar Oddseoul and now-closed restaurant Swish by Han. Details about the new business are scarce, but its logo appears to show a Japanese dragon locked in a vicious embrace with a snarling tiger, so take from that what you will. We can confirm that Hanmoto will be opening as soon as its liquor license comes through, likely sometime in November.

The Dish

Restaurants

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Swish by Han is closed; a new restaurant from the owners of Woods is moving in

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

Swish by Han was the upright Dr. Jekyll to Ossington snack bar Oddseoul’s Mr. Hyde. The two Korean-fusion restaurants, both owned by brothers Leemo and Leeto Han, attracted different crowds, with Swish luring a straighter-laced kind of diner (the kind, probably, who’d frown upon a food business that doesn’t have a website, a telephone number or obvious business hours). Unfortunately for those people, Swish is no more. A few weeks back, telltale brown paper appeared in the windows at 38 Wellington Street East, along with the less-than-informative message, “Coming Soon.”

We weren’t able to reach the Han brothers for comment, but we’ve got some intel from another source: Carlos De Veyra, the chef at nearby restaurant Woods, told us that he’ll soon be running the kitchen at a new casual Italian restaurant in the former Swish space. (The business, it turns out, was sold earlier this year to Woods owners Robin Singh and Byron Messier, who also own Pravda Vodka Bar a few doors down on Wellington.) “It’ll be pizza and pasta,” said De Veyra. “We’re putting in marble bar tops and a mobsters’ booth in the corner.” (A mobsters’ booth, apparently, is a big circular booth with a really tall back.) The restaurant doesn’t currently have a name, but it likely will have one soon enough. De Veyra says it’s scheduled to open in just six weeks.

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Recipes

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Recipe: how to make the avocado-cilantro slaw from Ossington snack bar Oddseoul

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Avocado Slaw
Toronto Life Recipes | Appetizers
AVOCADO SLAW
By Leemo and Leeto Han
Oddseoul
AVOCADO SLAW
By Leemo and Leeto Han
Oddseoul

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New Reviews

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Review: Oddseoul, the Korean hipster dive from the brothers behind Swish

Oddseoul’s Korean cheesesteak (Image: Megan Leahy)

SEE ALL NEW REVIEWS
Oddseoul  1 star½
90 Ossington Ave.

From Leeto and Leemo Han, the brothers behind Swish by Han in the Financial District, comes this new Ossington dive. It follows a winning formula: deliciously junky Asian-American bar snacks, cheap tall cans, bourbon cocktails and a ragged dining room.

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Recipes

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Recipe: Pork buns from Swish by Han, a down-and-dirty Korean take on the trendy snack

Recipe: Pork buns
Toronto Life Recipes | Brunch
PORK BUNS
By Leemo and Leeto Han
Swish by Han

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Trend Watch

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Trend we Love: Philly cheese steak, spotted in low- and middlebrow incarnations

The traditional cheese steak from I Went to Philly, and OddSeoul’s Koreanized version

Those who’ve grown weary of sanctimonious locavorism will welcome the sudden ubiquity of the Philly cheese steak on Toronto menus. The greasy cafeteria staple, in its traditional incarnation, is an oozing mountain of sliced rib-eye, grilled vegetables, hot peppers and Cheez Whiz piled into a squishy bun. It arrives on red checked paper, sends a rivulet of dribbling cheese down your shirtfront and defiantly flaunts its lowbrow junk factor in the face of fresh-and-local ideals. Here are some of the traditional and revamped versions we’ve spotted on menus around the city of late:

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: OddSeoul, the new Ossington Korean restaurant from the brothers behind Swish by Han

Introducing: OddSeoul

(Image: Megan Leahy)

Hot on the heels of Rock Lobster’s opening, brothers Leemo and Leeto Han have launched Ossington’s newest restaurant, OddSeoul. Those acquainted with their popular Wellington Street American-Korean restaurant Swish by Han will find the hip-hop and reclaimed wood aesthetic familiar, but instead of serving downtown lunchers, OddSeoul is pegged as a place for a night out, complete with mood lighting and bar-height communal tables. Most of the decor was sourced from a friend’s dad’s junkyard, including a host of ’90s boom boxes, a glowing red “Prescriptions” sign and an old Olympic diving board cut down to a bar shelf. The food is of similarly mongrel origins: the Hans are not about pretty plates, but instead try to elevate Korean staples with global flavours.

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Food Events

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GALLERY: Banana Mafia’s inaugural Asian Street Market party

The Banana Mafia throwing up deuces (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Last night was the first gathering of the Banana Mafia crew at the Amsterdam Brewery. This alliance of chefs was brought together by the team behind the upcoming GwaiLo, and is made up of Nick Liu (GwaiLo), Robbie Hojilla (Ursa), Jeff Claudio (Yours Truly), Jonathan Poon (Chantecler) and Leemo Han (Swish by Han, Oddseoul). The idea behind the Banana Mafia started with Liu, who wanted to do a Singapore hawker-style event by bringing together some of the city’s brightest Asian chefs.

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Food Events

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Enter the Banana Mafia: new posse of chefs to throw Asian Street Market party

While Nick Liu’s fans wait for the opening of his new Asian brasserie GwaiLo, the former Niagara Street Café chef has been showing up at various pop-ups and one-offs. Next up: an Asian Street Market at the Amsterdam Brewery featuring a crew of young Asian chefs calling themselves the Banana Mafia (the name likely does not refer to the fruit). The team is made up of Liu, Robbie Hojilla (Ursa), Jeff Claudio (Yours Truly), Jonathan Poon (Chantecler) and Leemo Han (Swish by Han and Oddseoul, which is presumably the name of the Han brothers’ new Ossington place). The event, which is almost sold out, takes place this coming Monday, May 14, with tickets going for $60 each. Check out the party’s event page for more info.

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