Southern Accent is a cajun and creole restaurant that once operated within the erstwhile Mirvish Village. It was one of several businesses like The Beguiling that chose to move to a different location in order to keep serving customers.
Like The Beguiling, Southern Accent also wound up on College. Owner Frances Wood might be Irish but she was inspired to open the restaurant after falling in love with the zydeco music of New Orleans.
Thirty years of staff and customer photographs wallpaper the entryway to Southern Accent’s home in Little Italy, showing the restaurant’s history of celebrity guests like Harry Connick Jr.
Thessavan Maniceavasakan is still in the kitchen serving up the same rich, blackened, and spicy flavours regulars have come to expect and love. Their flavours are so iconic, this place even has its own line of hot sauces.
Start with a cajun caesar ($13) especially if you’re here for brunch. It’s a simple mix of jalapeno-infused vodka and Clamato, rimmed with a cajun spice mix of Southern Accent’s own design.
Blackened chicken livers ($12) are a standout example of the hallmarks of cajun cuisine on offer here in an appetizer format: chicken livers are charred on the outside for smoky flavour that complements the meat, served with garlic toasts and a rich lemon beurre that cuts through the char, served with many blackened dishes.
Calamari ($14) are deep fried and cajun dusted, served with lemon as well as a tomato coulis and mint ginger remoulade that add kick to this classic bar food.
A favourite here are the hush puppies, $6 on their own or they come on the side of equally famous piquant shrimp, which is tossed in their lime garlic sauce. The two on one plate are extremely munchable, easy to pop in your mouth one after the other.
Blackened chicken ($20) is also served with lemon beurre, a larger and more mainstream version of the chicken livers. It also comes with a creamy garlic mash and light grilled bok choy with a chili brown sugar sauce.
Blackened lamb ($30) is a star big ticket item, the complex meat given some sweetness, tartness and moisture by an apricot ginger and mint glaze, atop the same garlic mash but with snappy green beans for veg this time.
The entryway leads to a narrow bar area, and then the place opens up into a more spacious back area with low tables and seating.
In accordance with the musical inspiration behind Southern Accent, bands play at the back here.