Friday, July 15, 2016

Té: Asian Fusion on Ossington

Serving Asian fusion share plates, the newly opened  on the Ossington strip combines traditional Asian ingredients and flavours - specifically those from Korea and Taiwan - into popular North American comfort foods. The result is a very whimsical and innovative tapas-style menu.

 (Instagram: @te_toronto, Facebook: ) is open for dinner, late night and weekend brunch. Served on Saturday and Sundays from 11am - 3pm, 's brunch focuses on classic breakfast/brunch favourites with an Asian twist; think Kimchi and Pork Belly Eggs Benedict, Dark-Spiced Taiwanese Fried Chicken & Egg Waffle, and Bulgogi Burger.

The restaurant is divided into three sections: a round banquette up front, several tables towards the back, and a long bar that separates the two. I admire the decor because I love the use of retro colours and hip style, but at times it could feel a bit too polished and bare. My friend and I picked the coziest spot at  for dinner, which was the cushioned banquette by the window. Check out this cool light fixture above us.

From the Spanish word for tea,  offers cocktails that are tea-inspired.

Vodka + amaretto + vanilla chai tea + cream + cinnamon stick + mini tapioca pearls

Scotch whisky + assam tea + mango syrup + teapot bitters + dried mango + mini tapioca pearls

I loved both The Chai Milk Tea and The Mango Black Te. The one thing that I would like to point out is the tapioca - the pearls in both drinks had a slightly bitter aftertaste, perhaps due to soaking in some of the alcohol? Nevertheless, they were fun to eat with a spoon.

Chef Grace sent out seven dishes for me to try:

Chopped Taiwanese slow-cooked pork belly on toasted French baguette slices
The slow-cooked pork belly was tender and flavourful. Delicious. However, some of the juices from the pork got absorbed by the toast, resulting in a soft crostini. I personally prefer crostinis more toasted and crisp, which may prevent it from getting soft from the pork juices in this case.

Panko crusted jumbo ravioli squares filled with a kimchi-spiked ricotta, mozzarella & parmesan blend, finished with a drizzle of honeyed wasabi pesto sauce

Fried to a lovely golden brown, these raviolis were really great bites. Remarkably crisp on the outside (especially the edges!), these pockets were filled with a creamy kimchi-spiked ricotta. I wish there was more kimchi flavour in the ricotta because I was hoping for a nice, spicy kick, but it turned to out be very subtle. I tasted more of the honeyed wasabi pesto sauce than kimchi.

Soft Asian-style steamed rice dough balls sauteed with garlic, onion, & bell peppers, smothered in a sweet chilli tomato sauce and oven-baked with mozzarella

I am in love with this, how can I not? I love everything here - the rice cakes, the tomato sauce, and the melted cheese. The soft rice cakes had a superb chew to them, and they gobble up that tomato sauce so well. The stringy mozzarella on top completes the dish.

Marinated in traditional Taiwanese spices, battered & fried, finished with pepper-salt seasoning
I really liked the hot, crunchy and crispy crust, and the seasoning on the coating was excellent (don't be alarmed by the dark colour it's just the spice mix). Yet, the meat inside lacked flavour - quite bland, actually - and even though the chicken was tender and juicy, it wasn't as juicy as the fried chicken at some of my favourite fried chicken spots in the city (i.e. Bar Fancy and Cluck Clucks).

Thin slices of soy-marinated beef sirloin piled high on toasted mini sesame buns, each topped with a runny quail egg and wasabi mayo.
The bulgogi marinade here was flawless, but the quail egg was certainly far from being "runny". I also did not taste much wasabi in the wasabi mayo. Despite that, I still enjoyed these sliders, especially with the nicely toasted buns.

Savoury Korean-style pancake made with squid & chives, pan-fried and served with a soy sauce vinegar dip
Gorgeous looking dish with lovely ingredients. Unfortunately, the pancake was wet and soggy, most likely due to the moisture of the toppings. If the pancake was a bit more firm and crisp, the squid chon would have been perfect.

Red lettuce leaf wraps, each layered with a thin slice of sweet-pickled winter radish, fresh garlic, sweet red chili paste and choice of ONE protein (bulgogi OR grilled pork belly OR sweet and spicy pork belly)
Phenomenal blend of flavours here between the pickled daikon radish, chili paste and the fresh garlic. The crisp, fresh lettuce cuts the fattiness of the pork belly beautifully. SO yum.

Matcha green tea cheesecake, baked in-house
I don't like cream so I scraped off most of the cream from the cheesecake. This cheesecake has a crumbly texture, while I personally prefer a more smoother, less crumbly consistency when it comes to cheesecakes. The green tea flavour was good, but could be stronger.

Traditional Taiwanese sweet toast sticks served with a single scoop of French vanilla or green tea ice cream
I did not particularly enjoy these toast sticks; they were essentially sugar coated slices of cold, hard bread that was barely toasted. If they were warm and freshly toasted, or served with custard or condensed milk I may have enjoyed them more. The French vanilla ice cream was great, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed the food at . I think with a few tweaks here and there, 's menu would do very well (I wish there were more spicy elements in their menu though, given that some of their plates are supposed to be Korean-inspired).

Note: Since my visit,  has increased the portion size from three pieces to four pieces for their Kimchi Ravioli, Bulgogi Sliders, Braised Pork Crostini and the Ssam Lettuce Wraps.

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

Té Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato