For Good Friday, my friend Andrea and I went to dine at Patois Toronto, just before the screening of Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter at TIFF Bell Lightbox. I had never heard of this place until Andrea added it to our restaurant list.
Before we got to the place, I had visited the restaurant’s website. The place is a fusion between Jamaican and Chinese. I always take a look at a restaurant’s menu beforehand to get a feel of the place. One item that stuck out to me was the Chinese “Pineapple” Bun Burger. It sounded interesting and so, I looked up photos of what the burger looks like. I didn’t realize the bun of the burgers were the traditional pineapple buns you would find at a Chinese bakery. Unfortunately, I’ve had the pineapple buns numerous times as a kid that I’ve developed a taste aversion to it. I decided that when we arrive at the place, I’d order one of the chicken items.
We had reservations at 5pm, even though the place opens at 5, and were seated easily (There was only one other party whom also had reservations). The place isn’t too big either, so reservations are recommended. I’m pretty sure the place started getting packed about 10-15 minutes after our arrival.
In addition to their menu, they do have some daily specials. The waiter will tell you what they are. We were intrigued by the coconut-rum drink, but opted not to order it. Andrea and I decided on an appetizer and our individual entrees.
For the appetizer, we ordered the Kimchi Potstickers “Pierogi” Style, but vegetarian. This was definitely the most interesting dish of the night. The texture was not like a pierogi’s but between a spring roll and a dumpling. It threw me off. It’s soft and the dough isn’t as thick as your normal pierogi. The kimchi sour cream it came with was not bad. It has this sweet sour cream taste with a bit of tang. It’s kind of like the dip served with sweet potato fries. Also, there’s not much of a kimchi flavour, but that tang is part of it.
I ended up ordering the Juicy Jerk Chicken. Before ordering it, I asked the waiter how spicy the jerk is (I know some places add a lot of spice to the jerk chickens). The waiter informed me that it’s not really spicy at all, but the extra sauce that comes with it is.
The Jerk Chicken is very flavourful. You definitely get a big punch of jerk spice. The chicken itself was juicy but a little salty. I assume it’s from all the jerk spice. But I quite enjoyed the dish. I did order the half chicken, which it looks small, but it does fill you up. Although, I think I can handle the full one day. Now, the waiter mentioned to me about the spicy sauce that comes on the side. Because I was warned, I did not bother touching it. That is, until Andrea told me to try it. I placed the tiniest bit, literally a millimeter of the sauce, and it burned! The sauce, ,is by far the spiciest thing I have ever tried in my life! So if you cannot handle spicy foods, DO NOT try this sauce at all.
This is what Andrea ordered. It was one of the specials of the night. It was a seabass filled with lemongrass Sriracha beurre blanc, with cashews, sweet potato fondant, and red chillies. She said it tasted good, so I will go by her judgement of it.
Andrea also ordered a drink. I can’t remember the name of it, but it looked so cute.
Lastly, we ordered the Jackfruit Beignets. It’s deep fried jackfruit with sweet condensed milk and topped with freeze dried jackfruit. The beignets themselves were really good. Jackfruits are sweet themselves, but the deep fried addition slightly reduces the sweetness. That’s not a bad thing though. With the sweet condensed milk, this dessert dish is sweet enough for those with a sweet tooth. But be careful when eating it. The jackfruits inside are hot and difficult to take bites of. We had to stick each beignet whole in our mouths. The freeze dried jackfruits were a bit weird. Not bad, but they were slightly nutty/banana tasting. They’ve also got quite a crunch.
Special highlight: The dinnerware!
Overall, I was quite pleased with my experience at Patois Toronto. Would I return? Yes. This place is trendy, but the food is great. The price is typical for your up and coming modern Toronto restaurant, but I had a great first time that I would return.