UPDATE: CLOSED AS OF JAN 15, 2015
With its exposed brick walls and antique metal host stand, Hudson Kitchen seems to embody Dundas West’s laissez-faire, deliberately scruffy vibe. But the space (courtesy of the Design Agency’s Jamie Phelan) is actually a study in understatement, and a clever amalgam of three previously separate businesses – café, locavore grocery store and contemporary art gallery. In the front room, smartly dressed diners sit on simple wooden chairs, around tables illuminated by Calder-like matte black fixtures. A raised and slightly more formal space – the former grocery – features leather panelling and upholstered seats. Hidden behind a shelving unit laden with preserves is the restaurant’s small kitchen. Turning out ambitious offerings of “progressive North American” cuisine, it combines the prevailing local-and-seasonal ethos with bold flavour combinations and dramatic plating.
Chef Robbie Hojilla is a wizard with grains: a beautifully seared steelhead trout is accompanied by a small mound of buttery popped amaranth ($27), and a wild mushroom salad served on a thin cross-section of log arrives on a nutty bed of rye berries ($14). He also sneaks in a few dishes inspired by his native Philippines, including a moist chicken adobo served with quinoa that’s spiked with charred eggplant ($26). The cocktails here take inventive inspiration from the cooking – the In the Pink ($12) is easy drinking, with its strawberry-ginger infused gin, Cointreau and red wine – and judging by the night’s increasingly flushed faces and raucous voices they’re well appreciated. 800 Dundas St W 416 644 8839 Tue‐Fri 6‐11, Sat & Sun brunch 10‐3; dinner 6‐11 hudsonkitchen.com
Originally featured in our Spring 2013 issue.