Two years after they’ve opened, I finally ate at Chantecler (@ChanteclerTO)! I’ve only ever heard good things about Chef/Co-owner Jonathan Poon and co-owner Jacon Wharton-Shukster’s Parkdale restaurant. Recently, their new Sunday lunch was causing quite the buzz—from the descriptions and photos I’ve seen, it’s very close to the Hong Kong-style lunch I grew up eating (and LOVING). I came here with a few friends for their “regular” à la carte menu. Read on for a short recount of our meal. Dine here once and you’ll be hooked. I know I am.
1320 Queen st West
Reservations: 416 628 3586 (imperative for their tasting menu)
Transit: 511 streetcar from Bathurst station, 501 streetcar from Queen or Osgoode station
Hours: Sun – Weds (6pm-11pm), Thurs – Fri (6pm-12am), Sat (6pm-1am), Sun (11:30am-3:30pm)
**To celebrate their 2-year anniversary, cocktail & wine features throughout March.
Though not advertised on their site, I know for a fact that they do offer a tasting menu, a very limited one, but one nonetheless. Considering their exclusivity, you’ll need reservations. For $40-60 on a Friday or Saturday night (only 4 seatings in total), you get treated to a carte blanche dinner that’s a real showcase of Jonathan Poon’s skills and creativity.
I wasn’t sure about the wait time for walk-ins at Chantecler so I played it safe and made reservations. Turns out, the evening we went to dine was a quiet one. I’d be perfectly happy with anything on the menu so I mostly left the ordering up to my friends. I think we were pretty sensible…ordering over half of the menu? If we were hungrier, I’m sure we could’ve gone all the way. “One of everything please!” I wish I was ballin enough for that.
There's the vintage Moffat stove and tiled backsplash of the "Chantecler" that everyone associates with the restaurant!
Calamari (11) – caramelized peanut & tamarind sauce
Tender, not shy in flavor, this was a great start.
Beer Tartare (12) – peanut, wasabi, fish sauce & shrimp chips
How can this not excite you?! Mix it all, scoop some onto a shrimp chip—it was a very balanced tartare. I wonder where you can have the best tartare in the city? Of course a very subjective question but still worth asking.
Torched Scallop (15) – ginger, scallion, sweet soy & kumquat
The ginger, scallion and sweet soy flavour combination is CLASSIC! So far, very happy with every dish. I guess the scallops could’ve been more charred? I’d order this dish again and again.
Kale Salad (9.5) – king oyster mushrooms, apple, seaweed & sesame
This was a special that night (week?) and has since gone on to become a permanent item on the menu. We weren’t very convinced when the server said “kale salad” but if it was as popular as she said it was, why not? It was a good choice.
Spicy Popcorn Shrimp (11) – popcorn, morita pepper
We were all thinking the same thing, “ok..so they went the literal route. They really mean popcorn AND shrimp.” haha What matters is the taste, and it hit all the right notes with us! It’s rather addictive.
Lettuce Meal (21) – braised beef & slow smoked pork shoulder, lettuce, steamed rice, house pickles & sauces
This used to be a feature: “Lettuce Sundays”. It became so popular that it at one point, it was “the” menu…out with à la carte, in with daily lettuce meals and tasting menus. Lucky for us, we now get it all! Muahahaha. Not to downplay how good this was, but the hype made it seem like a dish that you can’t go without.
Dessert sundae – vanilla ice cream, cereal / candy toppings, crème brûlée banana
Just like Milk Bar’s Cereal Milk Soft Serve, this dessert evoked awesome childhood memories. It was a really fun dessert.
Verdict: This was a great first meal at Chantecler. There wasn’t a single dish that we didn’t enjoy. It was refreshing to see a menu where the dishes are so complimentary to one another and what was also impressive, ingredients weren’t repeated everywhere! Must make up for lost time…I’m eagerly awaiting my next meal here. The dishes are portioned in such a way that you can order a lot, share, and not be stuffed by the end of it all.
Check ‘em out! http://restaurantchantecler.ca/
5 out of 5 NOMs