Situated on Sheppard Avenue near Birchmount Road, the 18-seat spot will primarily function as a take-out and delivery operation while offering limited seating for a lucky few.
Familiar favourites like tom yum soup ($5.95), khao soi ($12.95) and pad thai ($9.95) are all represented in addition to novel dishes that aren't commonly found on Toronto menus.
Chicken toast ($5.95) is a first for me. Bite-sized pillows of white bread topped with minced chicken, a sliver of red pepper and cilantro are dipped in egg and then deep fried. They taste as good a they look but it's the sweet and tangy chili dipping sauce that really makes the flavours pop.
Crispy Haad Yai-style fried chicken wings ($7.95) beckon for a beer, though you'll have to order take out and supply your own because the restaurant is not currently licensed.
The poultry is marinated overnight and is infused with flavours of garlic, pepper and coriander and the wings come with a side of sticky rice and the whole dish is showered in fried shallots.
The fried egg salad ($8.95) is made of cold chicken and eggs, which are fried until crispy, along with a medley of raw vegetables, including Chinese celery, tomatoes, onions and carrots. The tangy dressing smacks with fish sauce. This dish is much more filling than I anticipated.
Lunch specials are $10 or less. These include a chicken noodle curry ($9.95), which comes filled with spaghetti-like noodles submerged in green curry and loaded with chicken and bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, green beans, pickled and raw cabbage and a hard-boiled egg.
Chicken noodle soup ($9.95) shares similar flavours to tom yum. It has a lemongrass-scented broth that's mellowed out with coconut milk and comes swimming with vermicelli.
With minced chicken on top, this dish is balanced by bean sprouts, green beans and another boiled egg. Fried wontons, crushed peanuts, fried shallots and cilantro prove to be more than just garnish as they contribute big, bold flavours and crunchy textures.
For dessert, squishy slices of white bread reappear, though this time they're in a steamer basket along with a custard spun from coconut milk, palm sugar and egg. It's kind of like a fondue, only the dip is cloyingly sweet.
Mini skewers of grilled banana are more up my alley. They're doused in coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. Here the firm bananas are almost bitter, which balances out the sweetness.
I'm already a fan of Jatujak, so I would expect nothing less of any project Suksaen is attached to. I've been working on sampling the entire menu at the Kingston Road location and this new spot just means there's more to try.
Photos by Jesse Milns