When "Caribbean meets Asian Soul Food" you get Toronto's newest Asian-Caribbean restaurant, Patois. Chef and owner Craig Wong's repertoire of casual dishes not only pays tribute to his Chinese-Jamaican heritage but also includes delightful mash-ups of different Asian flavours inspired by Korean, Japanese and Thai cuisine. Opened three months ago in July, Patois is one of the hottest restaurants in the city right now, and rightfully so.
Me and three friends visited Patois (Twitter: @patoistoronto, Facebook: Patois) last Thursday night. The place was packed at 6:30pm - thank goodness we made reservations.
Off-the-menu cocktail features, specials and desserts can be found on the message board hung one end of the bar.
My photos of the dining room didn't turn out so I didn't include them here (I'm sure you can find them online.) However, the photo of these kids' inflatable flotation devices hung on the ceiling turned out quite well.
We knew going in that we were gonna do The Whole Shebang ($99.99). Laziness and ease of ordering made the decision quite easy for us. We also did the Yardbird Upgrade ($12) which upgrades the half order of O.G Fried + Juicy Jerk Chicken included in The Whole Shebang to a full order. Go big or go home!
Pineapple Thai Mojito ($11)
Dishes with prices beside them are special features and are not included in The Whole Shebang.
Crispy Nori Green Beans ($12)
Platter of Chinese "Pineapple" Bun Burger, Kimchi Potstickers, Jamaican Coleslaw and Dumpling Battered Onion Rings.
KIMCHI POTSTICKERS "PIEROGI STYLE"
Caramelized onions, bacon, kimchi sour cream and scallions
CHINESE "PINEAPPLE" BUN BURGER
Double smashburger, oyster sauce mayo, hickory sticks,
Creamy cabbage, carrot and scallion
Festival Dumpling Battered Onion Rings
SEAWEED WALDORF SALAD
Grapes, celery, wakame, walnut, apple and sesame dressing
ACKEE N' SALTFISH
Three saltfish fritters, piperade, plantain chips
JAMAICAN PATTY DOUBLE DOWN
Two cocktail patties, bacon, Swiss cheese fondue, sriracha
RIBS A L'ORANGE ($10)
JUICY JERK CHICKEN
Churrasco, rotisserie roasted
O.G. FRIED CHICKEN & WATERMELON PICKLE
Thai basil and sweet sriracha
O.G. FRIED CAULIFLOWER & WATERMELON PICKLE
Thai basil and sweet sriracha
DIRTY FRIED RICE
Red sausage, sweet soya sauce, Cajun trinity, peas and farm egg
I'm telling you now, try your hardest to round up 3 to 4 people for The Whole Shebang because it's totally worth it.
To be honest, our meal at Patois didn't start off with a bang. The Chinese "Pineapple" Bun Burger looked promising but fell short on taste (to be fair splitting that burger into four was not the easiest thing to do). I wasn't a fan of the thick batter on those onion rings nor did I enjoy the coleslaw (it wasn't anything special). The best thing on the platter was the pan-fried Kimchi Potstickers. The sweetness from the caramelized onions, the saltiness from the bacon and the acidity from the kimchi sour cream worked really well together. The Waldorf Salad was good but quickly became "great" once we realized those greens were gonna be the only non-fried veg of the night. Everything from that point on was absolutely delicious: the tasty saltfish fritters with ackee, the Jamaican double down with melted cheese, the platter of juicy jerk chicken & crispy fried chicken (both were juicy and moist but if you're having the breast meat then you need to take into consideration that it wouldn't be as juicy as the dark meat), the fried cauliflower with refreshing watermelon cubes, and last but not least, the dirty fried rice which was insanely delicious. Since I'm forever controlling my carbs intake I try to avoid rice altogether but damn, the spices, flavours and aroma from this plate of fried rice was outta control.
The specials were also excellent - the Ribs a L'orange was actually one of my favourite dishes that evening. Fall-off-the-bone tender braised ribs covered in a orange-soy glaze. So good. By the way, I saw the table beside us order the Jerk Chicken Chow Mein special which looked fabulous (wish I ordered that) and later, I saw photos of the Death Row Picanha special online which looked even more fabulous (wish I ordered that too). We... just... couldn't! We didn't even have room for dessert! Next time :)