The restaurant centres around an open kitchen with grills fueled by binchotan charcoal, filling the space with the scent of smouldering Japanese white oak.
Design takes more after Paris Paris: think flecked tile, arching shapes, peach lighting, and a bead curtain.
A central ice bucket bar that servers constantly plunge bottles of wine in and out of was designed by the same people who did Mandarin’s iconic buffets.
A separate green egg grill is used for veggies so there’s no cross-contamination with meat.
Betel leaf “one bite wraps” with shrimp and tamarind ($12) in an order of three are an exemplary start to the sharing-style menu.
Fold one of the grassy, almost minty leaves into an envelope around one mouthful of a crunchy, sweet, spicy and soft filling.
Coconut braised mushrooms with herbs and toasted rice ($14) sees spongy mushrooms sitting in a pool of rich coconut milk, an herby small plate that plays with texture contrasts.
Lamb chops ($15) are marinated in soy and palm sugar, prepared on the grill and served with an assortment of herbs and an addictive tamarind dipping sauce.
The herbs seem more like what you’d expect to get accompanying a bowl of pho at a Vietnamese restaurant, acting as fragrant palate cleansers.
A combo platter for $20 is the perfect way to taste both sausages made in house daily, a more traditional Northern Thai pork and a slightly more creative red curry duck.
Also served with palate-cleansing herbs and zinging fresh chilis that can add a lip-buzzing effect when stuffed into slices of sausage, I prefer the herbaceous and warm flavours of the sausage made using pork neck and house yellow curry paste.
A “Jungle Curry of Local Beef” ($22) is one of two labour-intensive curries on the menu, made with curry paste pounded in house and fried for hours so flavours develop, cooking done low and slow.
The meat itself is more of a fall-apart viscous spicy stew, studded with baby corn, squash, green pepper and huge, extremely fibrous but edible chunks of bamboo.
Fried Ontario trout with a salad of apple, toasted coconut and peanut seems steep at $36 until it arrives at the table. The whole fried fish easily feeds two to four people, the rich and silky pink flesh tearing away easily from skin and bones.
The tangy, acidic salad is the perfect counterpoint to the fish, the whole thing eventually devolving into a glorious mish-mash.
A sparkling rosé Cremant from Alsace for $17 a glass is a juicy offering from a list of envelope-pushing wines that complements the fiery food surprisingly well.
Favorites is hidden behind a Sam James location on Ossington.