Alas, lunch had been already been devoured, so dinner was the only option remaining.
The indoor game facility featured an abundance of stations, each equipped with a monitor, VR headset, headphones, and handheld controller set. The stations adopted the layout of cubicles, but with signficantly greater height and padded walls. A stool and table were allocated for each station, such that belongings could be kept within close reach and other players could observe while anticipating their own turn to participate.
A single accessible washroom could be found at the very back of the game room. Dust lined the countertop and questionable smears gleamed on the toilet seat. Though nowhere near as repulsive as Icha or Pablo (though those two are record-breakers), it could have used a thorough scrub-down.
On the bright side, the team of young adults responsible for the establishment at our time of visit were exceptionally amiable and more than willing to assist in any concerns.
Its unexpected location at World on Yonge makes for a great spot to enjoy some downtime in between meals, and seeing as the realm of virtual reality is relatively unexplored amongst many, the attraction is definitely present.
"What about last call?" I had pondered.
I suggested stopping by One Ten Cafe to kill time.
At $5.99 for a Regular size, the seasonal concoction combined matcha, steamed milk, and sweetener in the form of white chocolate; a heaping portion of whipped cream topped it all off.
The beverage tasted exactly as it was depicted: toasty and sweet, enveloped in matcha uniformity. Upon request of less sugar, the lady behind the cashier offered to omit sugar syrup entirely. This allowed notes of white chocolate to shine, yet prevented the final product from being too bold for non-lovers of the cocoa butter-based substitute.
Whipped cream was in excess, though somewhat neutralized with a generous dusting of matcha. Either way, its hefty price tag remained unjustified - especially when milk steaming occurred twice due to procedural errors.
I should declare, at this point, that the bathroom at One Ten no longer meets the basic requirements for hygiene. Not only did a slick layer of dust line the sink, the soap bottle had turned sticky and nasty. Overall cleanliness is now absent; I felt ashamed for ever endorsing such gruesomeness.
The lineup moved at a steady pace, and, within 20 minutes, we were seated.
We were directed to the central/communal dining area, where backless stools replaced chairs. As coats were peeled off and attempts were made to hang belongings on the tiny hooks underneath the bar seating, ceramic cups filled with water emerged before us. Oh right, green tea is additional charge.
Both bowls made their way over with fascinating speed - maybe due to high demand, or maybe since the restaurant was nearing closing for the night. Each fourteen-dollar bowl consisted three slices of lean chashu topped with a supposed "truffle sauce", a handful of scallions, a few measly strips of bamboo shoots, and a handful of yellow (and/or diced red) onion. Other toppings ceased to be visible. Seeing this, I understood the reason behind the gripes of many Yelpers.
The Shio broth was undeniably high in sodium levels with a slightly tacky aftertaste, while Shoyu was lighter and a little less viscous. The clear, orange-brown base contained a distinctive number of oil bubbles, each filled with flavour, though its precise components lacked identity.
Chashu slices were lean but still tender and incredibly fleshy. They could be described as a leaner, lighter version of old Santouka's toroniku, devoid of the satiating aftertaste of most meaty components. Richer is not always better - balance is key.
Speaking on behalf of those that do not consume meat often, it was an enjoyable source of protein, even if the sous vide procedure could not be tasted whatsoever. The herby mushroom paste was an interesting touch.
Two manager-like figures had been present: one lady in business casual (operations manager?) and an elderly man in casual fishing attire (potential franchise owner?). Along with at least four male members of kitchen staff (two visible from the dining hall and two in the back kitchen), the serving staff comprised primarily of made up of Japanese ladies and one vulnerable-looking part-timer who was clearly not Japanese and had minimal training before being thrown into the fire pit.
"Are you sure?" I questioned him, eyes widened. I glanced at my largely unfinished bowl before furrowing my brows back.
"I'll check again."
He returned empty-handed. "Sorry, we are out of containers."
I darted back with an expression of absolute disbelief. "How could a newly-opened restaurant run out of takeout containers?!" I thought.
Baffled at the response, I stared at my bowl, then back at him, waiting for him to propose a solution. But he didn't. He merely walked away and returned to his corner of the restaurant for people-watching.
"The cafe has cups right? Can you get me two of those, plus a tray and a plastic bag?"
"Uhhh I'll go see." came the response.
He re-appeared a few minutes later with two cold drink cups and dome lids. There was not a tray nor bag in his hands.
Once again, I silently expressed amazement at the level of critical thinking skills I was confronted with.
Firstly, why not just get two hot drink cups? The lids are sealed to begin with, and the paper is more than capable of holding warm broth.
Moreover, WHY would you provide me with dome lids as opposed to flat ones??
And WHY would you give me a paper bag instead of a plastic one?!?
How could a restaurant be out of basic items like takeout containers to begin with?!?!
Despite being sufficiently staffed with friendly mortals, the restaurant has utterly failed to fulfill customer requests efficiently with the items in possession, thus yielding an absolutely frustrating customer service experience.
Lastly, the two single stall washrooms were equipped with orange Cintas apparatus: a soap dispenser and covered toilet paper holder. One was smaller than the other, and neither was particularly pristine after a long day of business.