Toronto: In the City

DaiLo: Chef Nick Liu’s #sickasianfood


We ran into Chef Nick Liu 

a couple of nights ago at trendy DINE and Destinations launch party and got us thinking of our first great evening savouring Chef Liu’s fabulous ‘New Asian Cuisine’ appropriately hashtagged, #sickasianfood. Enjoy again, and join us as we plan our return to DaiLo! 


The sun is sitting low in the west, drenching College Street’s busy Wednesday night patios with a glorious mid-summer glow. Line-ups to get into Bar Raval and La Carnita are long and hopping, but we were going to neither: another time say I.

We breeze into DaiLo for our 6:30 reservation and are promptly seated at the choice, beautiful mother of pearl inlay table for 6, appropriate for a rendezvous dinner with good friends in from Boston. I have wanted to eat at DaiLo since it’s opening but like Bar Raval, have just not been able to get to Little Italy to sample Chef Nick Liu’s Chinese meets French ‘New Asian Cuisine’ appropriately hashtagged, #sickasianfood. Heavily influenced by Hakka Canadian parents and ancient ancestral menus, Chef Liu updates his creations with local and sustainable fare while wisely playing to our western palates.

We are a complicated table to deal with at DaiLo on this sunny Wednesday. One: a vegetarian, me: allergic to shellfish and a third: ‘I HATE any fish’, but our server and Chef Liu step up and graciously accept the challenge of Table 24. Ordering complete, we toast our reunion with thirst quenching bottles of chardonnay and eat ‘family style’, the brimming, pretty plates being delivered in three’s and fours, sometimes double ordered and each one greeted with an appreciative ahh ahhs from the Bostonians.

Here is what we feast on: 

We ‘amuse’ with tender, single bites of Smoked Deep Fried Trout Betel Leaf with almond satay sauce and fried shallots.

Fried Watermelon with fragrant basil, pickled melon rind and pork floss (which we immediately question our server about.)

Two orders (!) of the Phillipino Longanisa Empanada: duck fat pastry (oh my dear lord) pork sausage, quail egg, raisins and a baby bitter melon salsa. Both orders were gobbled and gone, quickly.

Egg Net Salad and as per our Veg request, the ground pork served on the side with green papaya, pomelo, bean sprouts, almond crumble, coconut caramel dressing.

A heavenly Truffle Fried Rice (heavy scented with truffle, which I like, many do not) with shaved black truffle, egg, carrots, edamame and XO sauce.

Fried Silken Tofu: a smoky miso sauce, seaweed salad, honey mushrooms Singapore Curry Cauliflower with Purple fingerlings, heirloom carrots, garlic scapes, almonds.

Whole Fried Giggie Trout with nahm jim, green curry aioli, soy glaze, the whole fish beautifully displayed, the tender morsels of trout pre-cut and ready to fill our hungry mouths and perfect for table sharing.

One of the Bostonians, a fisherman by hobby, focused on the trout cheeks as a final, flavorful ending to our #sickasianfood experience.

Thanks to Chef Liu for making this Wednesday reunion both delicious and memorable. We spill out onto a bustling and still sun-setting College Street strip, having bumped into at least three sets of friends enjoying a mid-week, mid-summer treat.

DaiLo-well, my friends!

 

 

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