Sunday, October 4, 2015Cloudy 11°C

Little Sister

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on July 18, 2014 / review policy

Little Sister TorontoLittle Sister is a new addition to the stretch of Yonge between Davisville and Eglinton. The food bar, created by Jennifer Gittins and Michael van den Winkel, the owners of nearby Quince Bistro, offers Toronto a taste of Indonesian-Dutch cuisine.

The duo's choice of cuisine was spurred by Winkel's past spent cooking for the Dutch navy, as well as the popularity of the traditional Dutch Rijsttafel feasts, featuring a vast array of Indonesian dishes, that Quince has hosted in recent years.

Little Sister TorontoThe space by Commute and design by Biography can be described as urban-grunge. Patterned walls are distressed to reveal crumbling plaster beneath, and the kitchen, encased by glass, imitates the street hawkers of Kaki Lima, who display the "menu" of the day scrawled onto scraps of cardboard or painted onto windows.

Little Sister TorontoThe menu is an assemblage of small plates that can be ordered en masse and shared at the table, a la carte as a snack, or with a side of rice or salad as a satisfying meal. The satay babi ($6), one of three types of skewers on offer, features pork smothered in a rich peanut sauce. I'd rate them a "must try" - though there's a chicken version I suspect is equally as good, and another flavoured with Balinese spices.

Little Sister TorontoFrom the snack selections, I try shrimp lettuce wraps ($10) served in pairs. Just-done prawns are nestled into bibb lettuce cups with a drizzle of sambal chili sauce for heat, pickled cucumbers for a cooling component, and fried shallots for crunch.

Little Sister TorontoTraditional dishes include curries and braised meats. I try the semur java ($14.50), a deeply-spiced braised beef dish topped with crispy potatoes and green onions.

Little Sister TorontoAn order of nasi goreng ($5.25) on the side helps sop up all the rich Javanese gravy. In all honesty, though, the vegetarian fried long-grain rice is awesome all on its own, specked with leeks and white cabbage and packed with flavours of cumin, coriander, sambal and ketjap manis.

Little Sister TorontoJohn Szabo did the wine list, taking into account the myriad of dishes consumed at once to offer complementing selections. On draught, Amsterdam, Muskoka and Beau's are available by the pint ($7.50) or half pint ($5). The cocktail list offers blended drinks like Kintamani Punch ($12), made with muddled watermelon, rum, coconut and lemongrass sake, and rhubarb bitters.

Little Sister TorontoLittle Sister is currently open every day (except Monday) from 4pm until 10pm or later.

Little Sister Toronto

Photos by Jesse Milns



Dan / July 19, 2014 at 10:18 am
Looking forward to trying this place! We need more Indonesian/Malaysian places in Toronto... it's fantastic cuisine.
who knows / July 19, 2014 at 03:49 pm
it's called Kaki Lima, not Kak Lima
Moaz Ahmad / July 20, 2014 at 02:33 pm
Looks like an interesting place. Can I suggest BlogTO not categorize it as "Asian" and be more specific (like "Malay-Indonesian" or "southeast Asian") instead of the far too broad "Asian" ... which ignores the diversity of tastes and palates in Asia.
Brigitte / July 20, 2014 at 03:44 pm
As a Dutch-Canadian with an Oma (grandmother) that was born and raised in Indonesia, I grew up on this food. Cannot express how difficult it is to find food that even comes close to colonial-inflected Indonesian fare in Toronto. I've been to Quince Bistro's semi-annual Rijsttafel dinners a few times, and if they are any indication of how well and true the owners do dutch-indo cuisine, then Little Sister is sure to blow it out of the water. Cannot wait to try this place!
HK / July 21, 2014 at 01:35 pm
Not a lot of Indonesian restaurants in TO. At least that I know of. Must try one day.
Sarah replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / July 21, 2014 at 02:52 pm
I know right? It's not just cuisine, people are just too lazy to care. It's the safest and ignorant way to describe things they don't care about. I'm Viet, my bf is Korean. People call us Asian and default us as Chinese.

Anyways this restaurant looks great! Will def check it out soon.
Ruth / August 1, 2014 at 03:25 pm
As someone who grew up in South East Asia, I was very happy with the quality of the food at Little Sister. Authentic flavours although the food could be a wee bit spicier, though I understand the need to cater to the Canadian palate. The Nasi Goreng actually tasted like Nasi Goreng (that's a more difficult feat than it sounds).

I had hoped that Hawker Bar, when it opened, would be like this. Little Sister has proven that it is in fact, possible to produce fantastic, authentic SE Asian Food while being trendy (with an awesome cocktail bar) without taking shortcuts and 'dumbing down' the contents of SE Asian Food.

Well done!
Jimbo / August 2, 2014 at 01:51 pm
The food was spectacular and spicy, however the portions are small and thus the becomes expensive to not leave hungry
Kelvin / December 31, 2014 at 01:25 am
As an Indonesian, I was lil bit surprise that there's an Indonesian restaurant in Toronto. Anyway one of my Indonesian friend said that the food was not authentic and lil bit different taste from the original. Moreover, I dont care about it! Im looking forward to try it
sam / April 23, 2015 at 12:52 am
Would this place serve halal meat? Considering that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the makes sense. I love Indonesian food

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