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The Week in Yum - Toronto's Lamesa - New Chef, New Menu, New Direction

Tuna Kinilaw-  a Filipino style ceviche made with albacore tuna, a coconut calamansi vinaigrette, fresh chilies, and coconut guacomole served with shrimp chips

So, there are exciting changes afoot at Lamesa, Toronto's favourite modern Filipino restaurant. New Head Chef Daniel Cancino is changing things up in the kitchen, putting his own, personal spin on the food he grew up on. 

I have eaten here many times (you can read my first review here) when Rudy Boquila was there, and I have always really enjoyed it but this meal felt like marked departure for the place and I, for one, really like where the menu is going. Molecular gastronomy + Filipino food? I would not have envisioned a happy coupling but in Chef Cancino's hands, it works. The food was lighter and more sophisticated, the presentation was beautiful and everything we tried on the new Fall/Winter menu was pretty amazing. My personal favourites were the Tuna Kinilaw, a Filipino style tuna ceviche that was set off by the bright zing of fresh calamansi juice with the Cauliflower Gintaan coming in second but just slightly. Don't let the unassuming name fool you either - there is roasted and raw cauliflower, cauliflower foam (hello science!) sitting beside an addictive smear of green cauliflower sauce made from pureeing cauliflower with coconut milk although my entire table thought it tasted like a beautiful, mild Thai green curry and we were arm wrestling over the last dregs of this dish and after talking to the other people who attended this menu preview, it seemed like it was a universal favourite.

As much as I enjoyed photographing the technicolour dessert, I absolutely assumed I was going to hate it, based on the colour of the custard. The creamy purple hue of custard reminded me of the terrible bubble gum flavoured ice cream that my kid used to eat at Lick's in the Beach and I also assumed that the texture would be sort of gelantious so it was with great reservations that I took a small, tentative taste.

I have no problem admitting that I was absolutely wrong. It was delicious, the custard was rich and creamy, almost like a creme brulee, it was not overly sweet and the puffed rice added the perfect amount of crunch. Four of us had to share one portion and it was a bloodbath by the end of it.

Beet Malaat  Salad

From top:  Cauliflower Ginataan, From left: Pork Octopus Dinuguan, Beef Bulalo, Corned Beef Lumpia
Ube leche flan- a Spanish style custard made with sweet purple yam served with puffed wild rice and apple tapioca

Talong Salad - eggplant, abodong caponata, salted egg, creme fraiche
Boracay Breezy - dark rhum, coconut rhum, banana liqueur, house made peach liqueur, massereated strawberry syrup
Of course, Justin the bartender made sure that our liquid needs were met as well with a lovely welcoming cocktail called a Boracay Breezy made with a peach infused liquor that he made himself with some tasty Ontario peaches.

Owner, Les Sabliano assured me that they will continue their Sunday night Kamayan dinners ( I reviewed that bit of dinner theatre here) so I will look forward to seeing how this new chef interprets that meal. 

I have to tell you that this was a media menu preview so the meal was free but my opinion is not for sale yadda yadda. It's great. Go eat there.

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen
669 Queen St W
Toronto, Ont

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So, as for the rest of the week, there isn't much to report in the food department but I did get to attend my fourth We Day at the ACC as a chaperone for my son's former school, Avalon Children's Montessori school. As always, it is incredibly inspiring and heartening to sit in an arena with 20,000 school kids who are excited about changing the world for the better. It's like lefty social justice church and it's a beautiful thing.

Pin of the week: Its not often that I really want to make a cake but this one has it's hooks in me

Instagram of the week: This guys's feed is wonderful and his plating videos are AMAZING

Posted by The Yum Yum Factor on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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