Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Boxed at Happy Child

After a year-long hiatus and his brief run as head chef at Leslieville's wine bar Skin + Bones, chef Matthew Sullivan (@GastroMatthew) returns to Boxed (Twitter: @BoxedToronto, Facebook: BOXED), a pop-up dinner series launched by Sullivan himself two years ago. 

Boxed's latest dinner took place on June 3rd & 4th at the Queen West bar Happy Child (Twitter: @happychildbarFacebook: Happy Child) and at $70 per head, guests were served a Taiwanese-style, locally-sourced six-course meal alongside drink pairings.  

Similar to the supper club's previous events, tickets to this Boxed dinner were sold online with the event's location revealed through email a couple of days prior.

Courses that night were paired with a selection of cocktails and Ontario VQA wines chosen by Sullivan.

Here's what we had:

Beef tartar with XO sauce

Shumai - Shrimp cream, dried scallop and pork consomme, foie gras mousse 

Salmon belly with fried rice, maple syrup and foie gras

Beef and fermented mushroom broth with toasted noodles, beef tendon and black cod

Oysters with fermented mushroom vinegar topped with scallions

Fried tofu with smoked pepper mayo, seaweed, smelts, shishito peppers and burnt honey

Lake Erie perch on lobster congee with BC side stripes and fried shallot

Charred then slow cooked beef cheek in XO sauce served on steamed Asian greens

Torched custard, stewed strawberries, tapioca and doughnuts

Chef Sullivan, who has staged at Din Tai Fung in Taipei last year, really showed his love for Asian cuisine at this Boxed dinner (Din Tai Fung, best known for their xiaolongbao, is an award-winning restaurant in Taiwan.) Sullivan incorporated many popular ingredients used in Asian cooking that I am very familiar with (and love!) such as XO sauce, various types of dried seafood, congee, as well as beef cheeks and beef tendons. Highlights for me that night were Sullivan's clever use of XO sauce in the beef tartare - it was one clean and tasty bite! A great start to the evening. I really enjoyed the perfectly cooked noodles too, and as for the beef and mushroom fermented broth? WOW. It was so fragrant and robust n flavour...it was almost like.... natural MSG :) The spicy, fried tofu topped with a crunchy medley of peanuts, seaweed, smelts and a light drizzle of pepper mayo was delightful. The incorporation of congee with the Lake Erie perch was very unique and creative. Even the dessert, made by Happy Child's co-owner and chef Fan Zhang, continued with the night's Asian theme by pairing tapioca to the ever-so-popular doughnut snack.

Get on the Boxed mailing list by emailing info@boxedtoronto.com and make sure you follow @BoxedToronto on Twitter for the latest updates.

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