My affection for MeNami has been widely proclaimed throughout this space, and from this day forward, I can officially state that I have tasted every single item on their Tapas menu. That’s one item crossed off my list of gustatory achievements.
After a period of chills and bleak skies, we headed to North York for a late Sunday lunch on the mildest day of the week. Given the balmy temperatures and cloudless wash of blue over our heads, it was anticipated that the udon & sake bar would be busier than normal, thus prompting a last-minute call to reserve a table.
The seasonal specials seemed to pale in comparison to the standard selection: Potato Cream Curry sounded gimmicky (and essentially looked like carb overkill), while Dondeki was too similar to Katsuya’s tonkatsu layouts for my liking. Never one to enjoy macarons in their sugary, meringue-like wholesomeness, I suggested dismissing the trio. Instead, the two remaining untried items were requested, along with the Beef Sashimi and Black Sesame Puree Udon with Beef.
Six pieces of battered whole okra was presented to us atop a thin chevron plate and white draining paper. Its texture and flavour profile was entirely unexpected: while a bit too generous on the sodium, the coarse wasabi salt camouflaged the internal tackiness of the vegetable, transferring the focus to the wispy thin casing. Needless to say, I was pleased with this economically-priced discovery.
On a general note, I’m usually not too fond of shellfish nor red meat. However, these two dishes took me by complete surprise. Crispy King Prawn was characterized by a popping, fiery glow: a glorious mountain of aonori-topped taro shreds strategically sat on top of a pyramid formed by delectably crunchy prawn. The structure supported a glassy orange drizzle of habanero chili sauce.
As a party of mild spice tolerance, this appetizer was admittedly spicy for our tastes. Despite this, a medley of sweet (and slightly sour) seasonings could still be perceived through the speckled blaze. The vibrant red pepper flakes within the sauce added texture as well as visual appeal. It was exceptionally enjoyable, even for mortals with vulnerable tolerances such as myself.
The taste was reminiscent of marinated bulgogi, with present in a form possessing both chewiness and unthinkable silkiness. Not a single tough bit was tasted, not a vein was in sight. It left behind a formidable impression that had me reaching for several more bites.
The hostess took on the barista role in this situation and actually apologized a few times for the divergence in standard. As I hadn’t had the opportunity to taste the beverage before, it was imperative that I clarify the drink’s specifications upon termination of the meal. Although the greater proportion of coconut cream was undeniably overwhelming when consumed in conjunction with the meal, I did find pleasure in the liquer-infused matcha component located in the bottom half of the glass. The coconut flakes – identical to that of the Johnnie Black Tea/Thai Iced Tea – sprinkled on the surface was another nice touch that ought to be retained. Should another appropriate occasion arise, I’d like to give the drink a second opportunity to reveal its full potential.
The establishment remains to operate on a cash-only basis (it’s P-Mall after all), though this is a small inconvenience to pay for stellar, one-of-a-kind iced drinks and amiable service.
The tiny takeout joint is renowned amongst locals and it’s not difficult to see why. Bearing a great dose of similarity to Banzai, the three-table, Korean-operated diner offers quick service and fresh sushi at extremely reasonable prices.
Moon River was a twist on the typical California roll sporting a plentiful portion of salmon both on top and inside the roll. Not only did it feature an impeccable rice to filling ratio, it comprised of the freshest avocado chunks I have ever laid eyes on – there wasn’t a spot in sight! The eight-piece platter was practically unbeatable in terms of size and value. I also appreciated the adorable squirt of wasabi, buttery avocado, and well-compacted sushi rice.