Viajero translates to "traveller," the name of this cantina serving tapas and tacos.
Almost every small sharing plate here has an element of international fusion and an element of Canadian cuisine.
The funky 26-seat space was once home to The End, a garage door opening to a patio area when the weather is warm.
Serrano ham croquetas ($11) are stuffed with freshly shaved jamon from a leg behind the bar, topped with Peking duck and resting in a spoonful of chipotle maple sauce (maple bringing the Canadian element).
The presentation feels just a tiny bit off as it seems to suggest you pop the whole thing in your mouth at once, but it’s ooey-gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Salmon roses ($11) skew a bit toward catered finger foods but I like them, olive goat cheese tapenade rolled in smoked salmon (a bit reminiscent of the “roses” from sushi places) plated atop fluffy house zucchini bread.
A selection of widely varying tacos are $5 each across the board. Chimichurri beef is a more familiar, popular selection that brings together tenderloin, a creamy poblano and corn mix, an herby chimichurri sauce and a bit of crispy fried parmesan that brings a major cheesy hit.
Tortillas aren’t made in house, but as much as possible is sourced from local suppliers like Fiesta Farms.
The “East Meets South” taco is vegetarian, and can be made vegan by swapping out a yogurt crema. A crispy tortilla shell is topped with a warmly spiced chickpea, sweet potato and pumpkin curry, tamarind reduction, and a kind of jalapeno popper stuffed with beans, goat cheese and cotija that I actually think stands well on its own.
The pork belly taco probably deserves least to be called one as it’s a steamed bao bun stuffed with pork belly, pickled carrot and cucumber, a coconut crema and avocado sauce, though it’s the drippy, sweet hoisin that dominates.
The Conqueror ($15) combines hefty mezcal and bourbon with slightly sweet maraschino liqueur and tamarind, served smoked with hickory under a dome and garnished with strip of serrano. Can all cocktails please be garnished with ham?
Rey Tequila ($14) is another cocktail with a tableside element, a rich and boozy mix of Hennessy, tequila, Grand Marnier, Jamaica flower and aromatic bitters, served by setting a sugar cube on top of a dehydrated orange slice aflame, quickly letting it drop into the drink if desired.
Proprietors Rachel Pattimore and Marco Aguirre are themselves world travellers, and it’s wonderful they’ve chosen this little corner of Toronto to make a part of their adventure.