Te is a tea themed snack bar where small plates and cocktails mix Asian and American influences. The space, formerly Baby Huey, is not particularly evocative. There's nothing really to set the tone or convey personality though a few standout design features include a bubbly jewel toned bar and brass accents throughout.
The best seats in the house are easily at the banquette encircling a round marble table against the front window facing Ossington. The backroom is occupied by a couple communal tables. Here the muted wainscoting against white washed brick walls and track lighting fall flat and feel a little drab.
The tea theme is perhaps most apparent at the bar featuring green tea mojitos ($11) and an assam and mango bubble tea ($12) spiked with whiskey.
In the kitchen, part owner Grace Cho serves up an eclectic roster of dishes ranging from squid chon ($8) and toasted kimchi ravioli ($18) to soy-braised beef poutine ($12) and bulgogi sliders ($15).
Kimchi deviled eggs ($6) are stellar, though a piping bag would certainly help their presentation. The creamy yolk mixed with kimchi paste and sesame is a delightful pairing and crumbly bacon bits add a nice hit of salt.
The marbled "Te" egg shooter ($1 each or $3 for four) is less successful. If you're only going to do one egg dish, go for the former. These Taiwanese spiced eggs marinated with tea look very pretty but the flavours and warm spices I'm anticipating fall short.
Dark spiced Taiwanese fried chicken ($16 for four pieces) is nicely cooked; the meat is moist while outside coating has nice crunch. It is, however, lacking in seasoning. A little acid or sauce or spice or something would certainly give the dish a little pizzaz.
Ultimately Te is just too timid. The ideas are kind of cool but both the decor and food could benefit from bolder execution. I'd be interested in trying the weekend brunch, something about a kimchi pork belly Benedict has me intrigued.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.