Of the three Momofuku restaurants that opened in Toronto in 2011, Momofuku Daishō stands out as the most exciting when it comes to food and beverage. Recently, the latest addition to the restaurant's ever evolving drink repertoire is an all Canadian whisky cart.
Situated on the third floor of Toronto's Momofuku complex, Daishō uniquely caters to both small and large groups with two different menus. An à la carte menu with fun vegetable dishes (Brussels sprouts, sunchokes, seasonal pickles are among my highlights) and shareable protein options that showcase the best of Canadian farms from the east to west coast.
But the real fun is in the large format menu. Groups of 4-10 (must book in advance) can order from Momofuku classics like bo ssäm and fried chicken (A good visual guide can be seen here). A group of friends, a hulking platter of meat, an array of sides and Daishō's ever expanding list of growlers—it truly is the best way to enjoy Daishō.
Speaking of the beverage program, it's one of the most exciting in the city. Firstly, most of the accoutrements for the cocktails are made in house. There's also more and more effort being put into expanding the portfolio. I recently had a chance to chat with sommelier Jonathan Gosenhauser who explained what's to come. One example is the recently launched juice night (at the time of this writing, a rhubarb sparkling lemonade was on offer) with fresh fruits and vegetables used to create non-alcoholic sparkling cocktails. Nikai, the second floor bar and lounge, will soon be the spot for bubbly in the city with over 20 different sparkling wines available (starting from $40). A root beer and ginger beer program is underway (made and bottled in house) and now, Momofuku is offering an all Canadian Whisky cart.
The timing couldn't be better. Canadian Whisky is on the rise. In the last six months, a large number of events have focused on Canadian Whiskies, and a number of tastings were hosted across the province that showcased new artisanal producers and new products from iconic brands (Oak is starting to play a huge roll). In 2013, this trend is sure to continue as more and more restaurants are also looking at creating 'All Canadian Whisky' lists. But nothing planned so far is as extravagant as what Daishō is doing. Earlier this week, Jonathan and his team launched the Canadian Whisky Cart program with a selection of 16 Canadian whiskies for Daishō diners. The selection ranges from Collingwood to Canadian Club Sherry Cask and from White Owl's gimmicky white whisky to Lot No. 40.
"The idea was to showcase Canadian products. It goes along with the focus of the restaurant and what we're trying to do here. I want diners to learn more about what we're producing in Canada, from the big boys to the artisanal producers" Jonathan said.
The cart is rolled around during dinner service, each of the whiskies are available by the glass with prices ranging from the very affordable $7 to $40 for the wonderfully distinctive Masterson's 10 year old straight rye. "We have about 16 whiskies on the list right now, and I have a few more coming in for Monday. In a few weeks I hope to have over 30 different whiskies on this list".
This format is a great way to experience Canadian whiskies and its variety of different styles, rye or no rye, and the influence of oak aging. Along with the cart, a new cocktail list will be available for guests that want to enjoy Canadian whisky inspired cocktails. Look for that in the upcoming days.
Below is a video where Jonathan shows the cart and chats a little about the new program at the restaurant.
Momofuku Daishō reservations can be made online, or you can take your chances by popping in and grabbing a seat at the bar (get there early, or go later in the evening if you're walking in).
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Written by Suresh Doss
Suresh Doss is the publisher of SpotlightToronto.com and Rickshawmag.com. Founder of the Food Truck Eats festival, Suresh has been a pioneer for the Street food movement in Toronto. In 2011, He was awarded the VQA Promoter’s Award for outstanding achievement in the Media category in the promotion of Ontario VQA Wines. Suresh is also the Global Editor for Whitecap’s StreetEats series of travel guides, which focuses on the best street food across North America.