Mezu are balls of cooked soybeans wrapped in rice straw, hung from the rafters in the traditional process of making Korean-style miso.
The pair designed the interior and built tables from reclaimed wood themselves — the bright and airy corner spot formerly home to bare-bones grocery/paninoteca Solita.
Korean ingredients are played with using methods, techniques and influences from a variety of different countries for this menu.
Smoked Arctic char ($13) sourced from New Brunswick sees near-translucent, petal-like slices of fish plated with candied lemon, amaranth, watercress, red chili, and crispy capers rich with fried flavour.
The plate reads like a palette, and it’s pleasing to assemble the delicate tatters into different flavour combinations on my fork.
Steak tartare ($13) brings in a French influence, the lightly seared chopped steak with sesame, chili, chives and soy dressing accompanied by puffy rice-flour-coated dehydrated seaweed chips.
Octopus ($16.50), sourced from Morocco and grilled, has a slightly sweet tomato flavour.
Plated on a bed of caviar lentils, bitter melon and red pearl onion break up the grilled smoky taste with acidity.
Bulgogi ($19.50) marinates hanger steak in soy for an incredibly flavourful medium-rare piece of meat that arrives at the table sliced and topped with crispy garlic and green onion, house beak (white) kimchi on the side.
Combining all elements on the plate is essential: the fatty caramelized meat singing with the crunchy, tangy kimchi.
Ssam ($22) is a lettuce wrap meal likely known to most Torontonians from experiences in Korean BBQ restaurants.
The pork belly for this elevated version goes through a 48-hour process of marinating to being cooked sous vide and grilled, the final product sticky and melty.
Wrap it in crisp gem lettuce leaves and top with traditional jang that's also elevated with a little chimichurri, pickled chayote adding extra Latin American influence.
The Gaza Mezu ($12) is a deceptively simple cocktail of cava layered on top of plum extract, slightly light and sweet in flavour, with raisins that, when added into the effervescent wine, dance and circulate around the glass. A dried plum skewer garnish tops everything off.
A vodka-based Tank Boy ($13) is somewhat dense and chunky but still refreshing and tropical, with pear and lemongrass sorbet and the iconically Korean Milkis.
The Tromba Kochu ($13) reads a little like an Asian margarita with Tromba, St. Germaine Elderflower and a salty spicy kochugaru rim.
With a sunny patio, Mezu seats 30 inside and 20 outside.