Based on my previous attempt to drive along the congested one-way streets of the core, I can affirm that making a quick detour to Little Pebbles is quite the arduous task, and not quick at all for that matter.
That being said, I wasn't about to allow the opportunity to slip away seeing that neither of us were tied to a vehicle and TTC fares had already been surrendered. Once the ongoing precipitation showed signs of subsiding, we grabbed our umbrellas to tackle the slick narrow pathway to Baldwin yet again
We were greeted warmly by the girl behind the cashier. The small space featured two tables, each capable of seating up two comfortably, or three huddled together. A couple had taken over one of these spots, so we took to setting umbrellas down on the other before marching up to review the menu.
Ecstatic to discover a spot that carried Black Sesame Lattes aside from Tandem, I placed my order rather enthusiastically, adding a miniature Matcha Sablé Cookie.
As I did not wish to ruin an almost-complete masterpiece, I waived the need for it. She resumed her pour at this point, though the result fell short of my expectations; a tadpole appeared on the surface instead of the standard Rosetta.
The beverage was fragrant and lined with the aroma of roasted black sesame seeds - a nice alternative to a caffeine-free tea latte. Truthfully, I would have preferred the beverage hotter and sweeter, and perhaps with a more prominent taste. For a costly $4.80, it presented a smidge of disappointment. This is not to say that I will be deterred from trying other items, however.
The fact that Little Pebbles had taken to pairing matcha with black sesame and kinako with adzuki was genuinely refreshing to me, specifically in regards to how each ingredient's unique properties were not overshadowed by the other in the slightest. Green tea and red bean is a supposedly no-fail combination that has been overdone to the utmost annoyance.
Moose Track, an intruiging blend of "coconut, cofee bean, almond, hazelnut, chocolate, and Sri Lankan black tea", would have likely been my first choice had I not been set on Black Sesame. A seriously sweet, luscious fragrance oozed from the piping hot cup.
The location is far from convenient, and the prices are a bit lofty considering other establishments in the vicinity. To combat this, there are a few aspects that enhance the convenience of the purchasing process: a loyalty program (stamp card) for drink purchases and permission of payment through credit and debit.
Personally speaking, the tradeoff is small for offerings that boast both quality and distinctness.
Of course, I had to document this adventure. (This was my first time exploring the city east of Donlands station!) The cars were similar in size to the Expo Line, albeit operating at noisier frequencies and less visually appealing with soiled fabric seats.
So we turned west onto Clark from Yonge. It wasn't there.
Street lights were few and dim, cloaking the road in a veil of dark navy. Eventually we managed to navigate into the correct plaza and secure a spot immediately outside the restaurant.
Our waitress wore a calm, almost blank expression. She spoke minimally and was efficient in her actions. Lemon-topped mason jars of water were provided as we began reviewing our options.
Utensils and paper placemats were standard, as was the soy sauce bottle and laminated menu. The details lay within the menu selection itself, as well as its accompanying lime green photobook. Showcased within this album were rare inclusions such as layered sushi tarts, spicy chirashi bowls, and exclusive roll combinations.
Given that we had walked in with only one hour left before closing time, it wasn't a surprise that few customers remained. A vociferous duo conversed in Konglish next to us; a party of three dined peacefully at the other end of the restaurant.
Hub Sushi's rendition featured supple, luscious pieces of fish that could rival the modern Downtown bistro, however, the rice did not absorb any trace of the omega-3 oils. It was short grain rice that had been tossed in sugar and vinegar and would crumble in fragments when removed from its platter.
Put simply, it was exactly as it was advertised: pressed sushi, and a superb six-piece selection at that.
Another factor worth noting was that the jalapeno slice generally found on top of Aburi had been swapped for a more economical spicy sauce. The middle layer, which sometimes consists of an additional chunk of fish (Miku), contained avocado instead. As mentioned earlier, Aburi is generally served without any type of sauce, but garnishes and drizzles had found their way onto our dishes.
For a fraction of the price, one can obtain high quality oshizushi with minor substitutions. It was a mindblowing concept that required some time to grow accustomed to.
The private lot also contributes to the added convenience of parking, something essentially impossible to obtain at renowned downtown spots unless after sundown.
Within each maki roll was deliciously crisp shrimp tempura, crunchy cucumber, smooth Philadelphia cream cheese, and ripe avocado enveloped with sturdy bits of sushi rice. Savoury smoked salmon made for an unexpected finishing touch.
Though its contents were a tad reminscent of the Pressed Sushi order, the Philadelphia had been crafted via a method that ensured total diversity. There wasn't a single element I did not find thorough enjoyment in consuming.
Hub's expansive menu and outstanding quality leaves little to be desired - it's merely a matter of trying it all.