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Restaurants

House of Moments

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on September 11, 2012 / review policy

house of moments torontoHouse of Moments, located on Carlaw just south of Gerrard has recently reinvented itself as a gallery meets restaurant, in what owner Hamid Kouchak hopes will become a hub for the artistic community.

house of moments torontoInside, dark velvet lounge furniture, clusters of dining tables and hi-tops offer a variety of seating options and vantage points from which to take in the surroundings.

house of moments torontoThe space (formerly a furniture showroom), feels like an industrial loft — the high-ceilinged, poured concrete room is partitioned into smaller areas by museum quality artifacts collected during Kouchak's travels. For instance, the extensive collection of oversized, 17th century doors hail from Thailand and Jaipur, and can be reconfigured to transform the space.

house of moments torontoWith so much room to play with, the 12,000 square foot space easily accommodates art exhibitions but is also garnering interest as an event venue for fashion shows, weddings and corporate affairs. Kouchak (an artist himself), curates month-long shows from emerging artists.

house of moments torontoThe menu from Korean chef Daniel Park features a rare blend of Japanese techniques fused with Persian flavours that only loosely follow the printed descriptions. Kouchak encourages Chef Park to take liberties with the menu and to experiment with flavours outside his comfort zone. The resulting combinations make for unique, spa-like food, which is presented on sharing plates that pair well with the lounge setting.

house of moments torontoThe Sashimi Platter ($22) is an artfully plated assortment of salmon, scallops and tuna, and arrives garnished with toasted sesame, poppy seeds, pomegranate and gold leaf flakes. The accompanying rice paper rolls are filled with avocado, julienned carrots, radish, and topped with a tart pomegranate walnut paste.

house of moments torontoThe chef-selected assorted Maki ($20) changes daily and showcases individual rolls, each filled with different combinations of masterfully prepared vegetables, raw bar selections, and African flavours that surprise given their Japanese presentation.

house of moments torontoThe Tofu Salad ($9) is a deliciously light, vegetarian option that features grilled tofu and avocado tossed with greens, pomegranate seeds, dried blueberries, pumpkin seeds, and a fragrant orange blossom and miso dressing.

house of moments torontoThe tempura Fried Tofu ($8) is topped with burdock root foam, a single jalapeno ring, dried cherry, and a sprig of oregano.

house of moments torontoBehind the bar, professional flair bartender and Ukraine's Got Talent contestant Andrey Shaherbyna mixes up cocktails and provides a little drama for late night events. A full wine menu and selection of bottled beers are also available.

house of moments torontoWith rotating exhibitions, a modular space, and the ever-changing menu, it's hard to say what future visits might hold. When asked what Kouchak plans next for House of Moments, he speaks excitedly about all the opportunities the space can afford: suspended yoga classes (the ceilings could support it), a massive rooftop patio, and the addition of Indian flavours to the menu top his list.

house of moments torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

32 Comments

David / September 11, 2012 at 01:17 pm
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Looks like the furniture store decided to serve Japanese food amidst their unsold Chinese decor. It's the same furniture!
Andrew / September 11, 2012 at 02:21 pm
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This place is a block away from where I live and I walk by it frequently. I have to admit, the logo is slightly misleading and can easily be mistaken for MOST MEN. They might want to revisit their branding as I'm not the only one who noticed the similarity.
ted / September 11, 2012 at 03:00 pm
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where's the art?
Lusciousfood / September 11, 2012 at 03:22 pm
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Welcome to the neighbourhood. Great looking dishes. Can't wait to try.
Alex / September 11, 2012 at 03:58 pm
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Sexy Iranian marketing director.
tam tam / September 11, 2012 at 04:03 pm
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This is a great restaurant. So authentic! Definitely best Japanese food in city. Try them today, and let your mouth water with delight.

Look at the beautiful artwork too. Much better than AGO, and cheaper. What are you waiting for? Try them.
Hamid Kouchak replying to a comment from ted / September 11, 2012 at 04:23 pm
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Dear Andrew,

It is in the works to redesign our logo, thank you for your positive comment.
Nacho Libre replying to a comment from tam tam / September 11, 2012 at 06:41 pm
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Unsuccessful shill is unsuccessful.
ted / September 11, 2012 at 07:54 pm
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is this entire post some bad joke?
Aziz / September 11, 2012 at 08:07 pm
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Believe me, this place is the most delicious.
They hosted our annual Toronto Taxi Brotherhood dinner last week.
Finally a world class venue for Toronto!
Martin / September 12, 2012 at 12:52 am
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We there a week ago, great atmosphere, music and many interesting exquisite wooden sculptures. Tried their sushi and was very impressed, we'll go back for sure.
Dare / September 12, 2012 at 08:39 am
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LOVE this place! Went for an industry night there and can't wait to go back. Truly a very special place with terrific potential, far better than anything in the Entertainment District. Elegant yet funky atmosphere, attentive (and attractive) servers and delicious food with well-balanced flavours.
MK / September 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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As a long time East Ender I applaud your steps to add a bit of culture on Carlaw as it is fast becoming a cold residential corridor. I will also try to remain positive. Your string of faux comments will turn off many readers on blogTO, as we have fairly developed BS barometers and generally a snarky bunch. I'm sure you have some beautiful art on the walls but it feels like it is secondary to the lounge. The art really needs to stand out and be showcased. A talented programmer may do the trick. Furthermore, in order to be taken seriously as an art space, I suggest you reach out to the Leslieville and Riverdale art communities for starters and become community builders yourselves. The Avro is probably your best case study in the East as a venue that built its success by embracing the community. By doing something positive for your neighbours, we will perhaps embrace you back. Ping me on Twitter if you want to chat further. Cheers.
Liz / September 12, 2012 at 05:32 pm
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yep, that comment by tam tam definitely looks like its for real...
BamBam / September 12, 2012 at 07:16 pm
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yes Tam Tam this is much better than the AGO. Everyone must believe that as it's obvious from the photos. They should start selling memberships. Toronto should be proud of this new, cutting edge gallery, restaurant and temple. Watch out art world!
light / September 17, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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I'm not really understanding the negative comments on here, I walked into this place a week ago and was flabbergasted at it's beauty, symmetry, artwork, ambiance and energy. It is almost always the case, when you start something of beauty and positivity, that people will try to pick at and criticize what you are doing to make themselves feel better about what they have. Understand, that pictures and a blog write up cannot even attempt to capture the essence of House Of Moments, speaking from personal experience. Just walk into the space and tell me you don't fall in love. As a Toronto community I think we can all benefit from more support and positivity towards what others have started, and lending constructive commentary regarding how something can be improved without the ego present. Peace and Light
Dark / September 17, 2012 at 04:42 pm
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so, what are you saying ?
if I try it and I don't like it, will I go to hell?
what if I don't "fall in love", does that mean that I'm a bad person?
what a pile of bullshit! all I get from reading this review is that someone took over an old furniture store and turned it into a restaurant with convoluted mix of food styles, with more to come. They seem to have filled the space with odd asian reproductions, and somehow think that makes it an art gallery? Add to that having their staff, or friends masquerading as customers who are praising this place? "Peace and light"...... give me a break!
Lynn / September 18, 2012 at 11:16 am
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We went for dinner (4 some) and ordered the tasting menu. The venue is unique and oddly welcoming and non-pretentious. The menu is dominated by Japanese influece with a few twists - I wouldn't excactly call it fusion - but there are some influences.

The oyster starter was underwhelming and over-priced for the impact it left. The tasting menu started with a beat (3 way) salad - nothing really unique - fairly predictable flavors - nice miso/sesame dressing. The soup was very simple and underwhelming - lacked sophistication and depth of flavor (essentially a shitake wood mushroom broth). The sushi/sashimi plate was beautiful looking, it came with some random oils on the side (the server didn't seem to know what they were and they were not substantial enough to really identify). The plate was tasty, not the best quality salmon - the tuna was great. Again, nothing really unique other than the presentation. The main was a long plate with plain rice in the middle (really?) and not interesting or tasty. To one end a black cod with a beat sauce (beats again?) which was truly lovely! Incredible in fact. The beef on hte other end (came rare which is odd) underwhelming - not enough seasoning - the sauce tasted pretty much like a teriyaki with some roast veg. The plate didn't flow at all - but the cod - delicious! There was a palatte cleanser - citrus and avocado drink - it was too big and although refreshing a little odd to be honest - the meal just didn't flow and in the end I think it was a little overpriced.

I would try the restaurant again, ordering off the menu. Some of the rolls I saw go by looked pretty tempting. I HOPE this place does well - just love the vibe. The staff is very friendly - but perhaps a little restraint would be good (both the manager and the self proclaimed 'founder') came and introduced themselves to us - nice...ish - not quite sure about it yet.

Try it for sure - would recommend you order off the menu and enjoy the art and vibe.
whatwhat / September 19, 2012 at 10:53 am
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Did you beat the beets!
Just BLAH replying to a comment from Lynn / November 1, 2012 at 05:12 pm
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Worst service I Have experienced in a Toronto so-called "restaurant". Servers are unknowledgeable about menu items, and I got a tea bag... never got water the rest of the night. This happened on more than one occasion. I had the salmon... nothing special. Really cold when it got to the table. Green Dragon Roll was ok. Again... nothing special. Nothing unique. Just AMAZING presentation... the chef has another restaurant north Toronto which is amazing food-wise, one of my fav sushi places. But it looks like that is as far as it goes, up north.

All it is, is an oversized restaurant with a bunch of art on its walls and they call it an art gallery? Anyways, I walked into this place a few weeks ago for an event that a friend suggested we go. We did. The vibe and atmosphere was really uptight and unfriendly. The crowd that this place seems to attract is the 905ers, mostly an Iranian crowd as I'm pretty sure the so-called "founder" is Iranian. I have nothing against Iranians, please don't get me wrong but the vibe and atmosphere was very condescending. Money certainly does not buy you class.

Overall, nothing special. The decor inside DOES look like a furniture store, beautiful items, the buddhas, but really confused why there is a crapload of doors... there is no flow, they are in desperate need of an interior designer, a curator, a real worthy chef, and perhaps market towards a demographic that is more diverse... not a place filled with people of only one culture.
Maria / January 23, 2013 at 02:51 am
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I find this place very refreshing. I've lived in Toronto for 18 years and after working as an event planner I've come to terms that we are a second rate city when it comes to being unique and interesting. Cold hard truth, sorry for not injecting the patriotism, although I love Toronto. Back to this space, the food is delicious, the art shows are curated Very well. It makes no sense comparing an art space to the AGO, not that AGO has much to offer these days that isn't outdone by our New York or Montreal art community neighbors. I would equate this place to Buddha Bar in Paris, the music makes a great backdrop to the beautiful visual atmosphere.

For all the critics, unless you've been there and have tried everything this place has to offer I would take the cynicism elsewhere. No point kicking the sides of people who are trying to bring life to this city. I would definitely suggest HOM for events, point blank, it's a great space.
Roxy Zapala / February 11, 2013 at 09:11 pm
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I recently went to set up an event at this venue and was absolutely blown away by it's uniqueness and vibe!!! At first I didn't even realize that I was going to set up in the same space where I previously bought some of my furniture many years ago, so when I finally got to the place I was pleasantly surprised by the metamorphosis. It still posses the same feel as the furniture store but that's the beauty.I just LOVE the Asian-inspired elements combined with the raw space - sort of like a hip urban loft! I really really love it and I cannot wait to do more events at this place. I am not too sure about the actual food as I did not have a chance to taste it. It's fairly new so perhaps it still needs polishing in the service department (according to some of the comments here); however, judging by the design this place is one to watch for. I have a feeling that this place will do great eventually, it just needs time to get recognized. Koodos to whomever came up with the concept, it ROCKS :)
Bahman / March 13, 2013 at 06:33 am
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Mr. Kouchak,
I am very proud and cannot wait to drop by one evening to spend some time in your restaurant .
This association has launched a few events so far. I am considering to hold a gallery or fair to celebrate zartosht at a high class location like yours.
I will be in touch.
Sincerely
Bahman Roudgarnia
P kangee / October 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm
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I like the place though. The atmosphere is great and unique by its ancient Asian doors and sculptures. There are some artworks that you can look around and enjoy. The food is very impressive, very beautiful and tasty. I suggest the Bangkok sushi.
Arian / October 3, 2013 at 12:40 am
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Like no other place in Toronto, the House of Moments creates a space where art, music, food and an amazing ambience, seamlessly blend together. Whenever I step into HOM, I enjoy my "NOW" moment, whether I'm going there to meet with friends, attend an event, or enjoy one of the best sushi in town. The incredible collection of art pieces and the sophisticated elements found throughout this art gallery/lounge/restaurant/bar, make the House of Moments a popular destination for creative and artistic minds.
Hamid Kouchak replying to a comment from Bahman / October 3, 2013 at 11:48 am
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Dear Bahman,
Thank you so much for your kind words, we would love to host your event. Please free to contact me.
wishing you many happy and loving "Moments"
Hamid Kouchak replying to a comment from Roxy Zapala / October 3, 2013 at 11:50 am
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Dear Roxy,
Thank you so much for your kind words. I will be delighted to meet you on your next visit to "Moments"
Hamid.
Hamid Kouchak replying to a comment from David / October 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm
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Dear David,
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. The furniture store that was in our space only carried very fine Chinese furniture from Northern China. If you noticed we have 16 ancient doors from late 17th to early 18th century from India. The doors on the celling are from Thailand early 19th century, The Buddha's are collection that i gathered through my 4 years traveling from Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. I will be delighted to give a personal tour if you ever come back to House of Moments.
Wishing you many loving moments.
Hamid Kouchak replying to a comment from light / October 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm
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Dear Light,
Thank you for your love to House of Moments. Your words motivate us to do better.
Bless you.
Hamid
Katrina C / October 3, 2013 at 01:00 pm
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Every bite is a piece of art is itself! Great food and atmosphere. This place is definitely worth a visit! ..or 2..or 3 or more!
Carlos G. / January 15, 2014 at 01:55 pm
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Recommended by a friend, and was very surprised from the artwork, to ambiance of the venue, What I loved the most was the food, best Sushi I have ever tasted, it was amazing and fresh !!

All in all, a great place for Japanese-Fusion type foods, and a wonderful spot to bring anyone.
Peter / July 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm
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Hamid, nice place and great food..However are you concerned about the new condo the carlaw being built across from you? Heard crows theater is moving in to the lobby of the carlaw and will host similar events.ie wedding and work functions...hate to see either effect each other as the area really needs places like this. ..

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