Showing posts with label duck pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label duck pasta. Show all posts

156 Cumberland (Toronto)

156 Cumberland elicits a sense of mystery. Not in a murder mystery, speak easy, or blind tasting sense. Rather, you’re not quite sure what to expect. It starts with their name… merely repeating their central Yorkville address, good luck figuring out what this restaurant’s about.

Even their menu left me perplexed, a simple one liner printed at the bottom ‘Hanjan, dujan, sejan, floor’ – 156 Cumberland Team. Google translates this for me as ‘One drink, two drink, three drink, floor’. So, there’s a sense of cheekiness and a Korean inspiration to 156 Cumberland.

The beef tartare ($15) are flavourful bundles of joy – for your mouth that is. Sweet, savoury, and spicy elements combine with the minced beef before being stuffed into fried tofu skin. An egg yolk drizzle adds a thick creamy element while the chives a burst of freshness.

If the avocado mousse wasn’t so over salted the hiramasa ($25) would have been perfect. A generous portion of yellowtail incorporated a hint of heat from white kimchi gel and horseradish along with briny bits of oiji (a Korean pickle). While the avocado helps bind everything together, it was overly seasoned, so I ended up scraping most of it off to allow me to taste the fish. The little toasted seaweed chips were a great choice to scoop this up.

The intensely flavoured appetizers did leave the Korean bouillabaisse ($34) tasting flat. Perhaps it’s why the kitchen chose to serve the bouillabaisse with the white kimchi on the side. Ultimately, it lacked the saffron hit that makes the seafood sing. At least there was a decent number of clams, bay scallops, and haddock and the thin circles of rice cake were an interesting chewy texture against the seafood.  

The #AvecJayden’s white kimchi ($8) supports a fellow chef – the sous chef of Richmond Station who began perfecting his recipe during the pandemic and later starting an enterprise to sell it. Given it doesn’t rely heavily on spicy gochujang, Jayden’s version is light and fresh so didn’t detract from the seafood.

Give me an entire dish of sujebi ($37), the slices of silky Korean pasta swimming in a decadent buttery sauce. Chunks of duck leg, meaty maitake mushrooms, sweet corn, and fried sage made this the highlight of the meal.

There wasn’t an ounce of fruit in the banana milk tiramisu ($13), but I don’t mind. My best guess as to where the banana was incorporated may be the cake. Regardless, the dessert satisfied and aptly fit the menu’s description as being not too sweet.

The kitchen’s efficiency seemed to put a strain on the front-of-the-house. Even though service was friendly, they were so busy running food and drinks that switching plates became an after thought. A new plate would be ideal between the starters and the bouillabaisse, at least we managed to get one for the sujebi after waiting a bit.

Dinner also seemed rushed with little time between dishes. I didn’t feel like I could really settle in and relax without letting the mains go cold. Slow down 156 Cumberland and let the diners converse and drink. After all, how can we fulfill ‘Hanjan, dujan, sejan, floor’ if we’re out after two?

In a nutshell... 
  • Must order: sujebi and beef tartare
  • Just skip: Korean bouillabaisse

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 156 Cumberland Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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