Wednesday, October 7, 2015Mostly Cloudy 21°C

Wind Up Bird Cafe

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Listed on December 6, 2013 / review policy

Wind Up Bird CafeWind Up Bird Cafe is named after a Murakami book and aspires to be just as quirky and whimsical. Opened by serial restaurateur and award winning fiction writer, Sang Kim (Yakitori Bar, Seoul Food Co., Blowfish) and partners Claudio Gaudio and chef Yumiko Kobayashi (who are both artists in their own right), the new spot hopes to become a community hub that will nourish tummies as well as souls.

wind up bird cafeInside, renovations have transformed the dingy decor of the former Q Space into a polished but casual space. Warm woods, bright upholstered booths and tables with abstracted children's illustrations set a fun tone, while the stage and AV equipment hint to serious programming ambitions.

wind up bird cafeThe new establishment was conceived as more than just a restaurant. The team is deeply engaged in philanthropic and social work, and come the new year, the collaboration plans to offer a mix of musical entertainment, literary events, children's programming, instructional cooking workshops, singles nights and forums to explore food insecurity and other issues of social injustice. In warmer months expect a boulevard patio and kid's community garden.

wind up bird cafeBy day, the cafe serves house-baked sweets, savoury pastries ($2.50-$3.50), open-faced sandwiches and espressos. Lunch and dinner menus offer a range of dishes that draw from Kobayashi's Japanese heritage, French techniques and cross cultural experiences as a Torontonian.

wind up bird cafeThe menu will change frequently within the parameters of each season and with the availability of local produce. Hearty winter dishes include a Pot Au Feu ($14) featuring artisanal pork sausage in a fragrant chicken broth with root veggies, lotus root, shallots and edamame.

wind up bird cafeThere are light dishes like a cured Arctic Char ($15) served with an assortment of fresh breads, pickled heirloom vegetables and a Mexican chili chutney.

Roast Beef Tenderloin ($19, lead photo) over mash is the most expensive item on the menu. The artful plate pays special attention to proportion, offering a portion of steak that Food Canada would commend alongside an entourage of colourful squash, beets, carrots, edamame and brussel sprouts.

The bar menu features an abbreviated wine list of four reds and four whites ($7.50-$9.50 by the glass). Local beers from Mill Street, Creemore and Beau's will be available in bottles. The cocktail menu features unique blended libations like the Kombucha Kosmo ($12) and Johnny Walker-spiked Beet It ($12).

wind up bird cafeWind-Up Bird Cafe is open weekdays from 8am until 10pm. Weekend brunch will be introduced in the new year but currently the space is open on Saturdays from 4pm to 10pm and closed on Sundays.

Photos by Jesse Milns



tweet tweet / December 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm
I look forward to checking it out but what a boring beer list!

How about Augusta Ale? Kensington Brewing Co. is going to be brewing it two blocks away!

Sang Kim / December 6, 2013 at 02:09 pm
We are licensed indoors. It is the patio license that is pending.
Tweet Tweet. When KBC starts brewing, they can come to us first.
Looking forward to seeing you here.
wolfshades / December 6, 2013 at 02:21 pm
First thing I noticed was the portioning on the lead photo. That alone makes me want to try this place out. The presentation looks amazing.
tweet tweet replying to a comment from Sang Kim / December 6, 2013 at 02:48 pm
KC / December 6, 2013 at 03:16 pm
The phone number on here is actually for Yakitori. Anybody know their actual contact number? The website doesn't appear to be up yet.
Ursula Pflug / December 6, 2013 at 03:47 pm
Salmon, readings, AND a Murakami name? Hard to say which I'm most in favour of. I'm in.
Sang Kim / December 6, 2013 at 08:47 pm
Hi KC,
Our phone #: 647-349-6373
Website going up next week.
KY / December 6, 2013 at 09:45 pm
Sang has quite the touch! He has created an airy and easy flowing space from the look of these photos. Super excited to have this place as an option. Food looks well executed and well priced. Looking forward to checking it out!
lol / December 8, 2013 at 09:08 am
Yeah love the portion sizing and seasonal vibe to the veg. Hopefully the "profile" is a good indicator of an actual customer experience... I'll check it out over the break ^_^
Ugh! Why!! / December 22, 2013 at 09:19 pm
Ate here the other day and really really wanted to like it but it was so BLLLLLAAAHHHH. the veggies were boiled to the point that they had no flavour. Meat was meh. I was sad. So sad.
Vina / January 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm
Found this gem as my date and I were waiting for a table at Castle in the Sky board games. We were greeted by Sang Kim himself and our waitress. I ordered the 5oz roast beef tenderloin and my date ordered the Pot Au Feu, we were both in love with our dishes! My beef was moist and tendered and the squash was delicious! I had such a nice meal there I came back the next night with my best friend!!
confused / August 17, 2014 at 07:46 pm
What exactly is Food Canada? Canadas Food Guide? Health Canada? Edit your work please.
Terra / October 31, 2014 at 01:05 pm
So happy to have discovered this place. It is so many things. Beautiful, imaginative and the food is made with the attention only an artist would give. The passion fruit mousse and flourless chocolate cake are to die for.
StoryHere / March 3, 2015 at 09:42 am
I love this place. Love-love this place. In fact, I will go there now and try they're brunch because I've mostly only eaten from their raw evening menu. The energy of the people, the welcome, the attention to detail in the food and its sourcing... so divine. I went on a first and second and third date and - I believe it was Sang - came back to our booth after checking in on us and said, "there's a story here, I can feel it." And now they're part of it.

I absolutely encourage you to try this wonderful place that is doing so much right.

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