Los Colibris is perched on top of sister restaurant El Caballito at the same address on King West . The top tier restaurant is more refined than the downstairs, focused less on street food and more on traditional Mexican recipes. Executive Chef Elia Herrera oversees the kitchen employing family recipes from her shore-side hometown in Veracruz, Mexico.
The interior employs a jewel toned colour scheme subdued by white clothed tables. Hard crops of Diego Rivera paintings dot the walls of two main dining rooms, one of which can be booked for private functions for up to 50 guests.
Another cozy semi-private room up front looks dead onto Roy Thompson Hall and can accommodate up to 15 around a long harvest table.
Across from the bar, a lounge offers space to enjoy a cocktail - like Zoma Rosa ($12), a margarita blended with Tromba Blanco, flor de jamaica, basil and mint.
The menu boasts four types of ceviche, from which I choose two to try. The Ceviche Callo de Hacha ($15) balances the sweetness of scallops and tequila-compressed watermelon with the heat of jalape単o and mild cucumber and avocado.
The Ceviche Blanco ($13) is more like a cold shrimp salad, studded with crunchy jicama and dressed in creamy coconut milk, with serrano chilis for a little heat. Taro root chips supplied on the side act as a vessel to spoon each bite in my mouth.
Torta de Elote ($9 - top photo) is a sweet corn cake set over top of braised brisket and a pool of rich and smoky pasilla adobo sauce.
Unlike downstairs, there are no tacos on the menu, though the Queso Fundido ($15) will satisfy that craving, and offers the chance to enjoy awesomely fresh, still steaming, house-made corn or flour tortillas. Essentially, it's a Mexican cheese fondue, served bubbling in a skillet with chorizo - greasy, but in all the right ways.
More substantial fare is available too. There are hearty plates like the Tesmole de Pollo ($21), which showcases confit chicken, pulled meat and crispy skin with a jalape単o tomatillo sauce. Hidden under the meat and an assortment of seasonal vegetables is a sweet corn dumpling that soaks up all the juices.
Dessert should not be overlooked; Herrera is an accomplished pastry chef (formerly of Canoe and Scarpetta ), so expect the sweets to excel. The tres leche cake ($11) sits in a pool of caramelized milk and is surrounded by cocada (Mexican macaroons) and finished with soursop sorbet.
Los Colibris opens weekdays at 11:30am for lunch and dinner, while on Saturdays the restaurant opens at 5pm for dinner. Sunday brunch is soon to be launched. For the pre-theatre crowd, there is a three-course prix fixe on offer for $35 that can take the worry out of making the opening curtain.
Photos by Jesse Milns