BY GUEST BLOGGER, TIFFANY VITTI
Tabülè is known throughout Toronto for their consistently delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.
It’s 11am but mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda (of Blowfish) insists on starting off with either a tequila or gin based cocktail. I choose the tequila based ‘Arabian Chiquita’. A sweet citrus drink served in a martini glass, the green chartreuse and basil add unique herbal notes.
We are also served a Watermelon Sangria and both drinks are refreshing and light which will no doubt counter the richness of the food.
The starters begin to flow from the kitchen, home made Hümmus, Babaganüj and Labni in generous portions are quickly devoured. With my warm pita I kept reaching for the Labni, a homemade yogurt cheese that is topped with garlic & Lebanese spice. It is incredibly creamy and showcases the point of simple done well.
Next we were served the namesake Tabülè, a parsley salad with bulgur (a grain similar to couscous), tomato, and lemon + mint oil dressing. It adds a much needed herbal element to the previous dips.
The Fattüsh and Hallüm Salad are both made with minimal ingredients. I forgot how much I missed halloumi after rarely seeing it in the Toronto food scene. The dense cheese is paired with arugula and a pomegranate dressing to cut through the salty deliciousness.
The starters are mainly vegan, vegetarian and gluten free (excluding the bulgur grain in the Tabülè which can be substituted), making it an easy choice for groups with differing palates.
I was sitting contently having consumed the above with a passion when I was told that those were just the starters! Both excited and daunted at the prospect of eating more – you can see why this is an ideal location for those who love the tapas share plate mentality!
The garlic shrimp and lamb in the mixed grill plate were a stand out. All the meat was succulent, key note is to pair it with the garlic sauce. Which is more a light foam and seems to be the Siracha of the Lebanese world, as it makes everything taste better (but unfortunately had me leaving any thought of smelling good behind).
Though I have a feeling a single falafel will topple me over, I find my second stomach for dessert. The baklava is nicely sweetened with honey but I prefer mine more dense with nuts. The Künafa Ashta has everyone at the table raving and eyeing each other up for the last bite. This dessert is a ricotta-like custard that is topped with rosewater and shredded filo. A must try and make sure you pair it with the fresh mint tea.
The husband + wife team had the idea to open the first Tabülè after Diana knew everyone had to taste Rony’s cooking, and I for one am glad she made it happen. It’s a welcome addition to Bayview Village, adding to the diverse dining experience.
Tabülè’s look is becoming more refined with every restaurant opening – from the decor alone you can map their evolution. The new location focuses on clean lines with the overhanging shelf structure and stylish lighting with personal touches by the owners.
The wall has a mural of a mountain in Rony’s hometown of Beirut. Alongside the white dishes there are a mishmash of colourful serving bowls. It is these small elements that make the place feel unpretentious despite its modern decor.
Open for lunch and dinner, the team hopes to keep adding new menu items and possibly start brunch. Gather a group, don’t be afraid of the garlic and you’re guaranteed a good time!
Tabülè // Bayview Village // 416.483.3747
TIFFANY VITTI // An Aussie with a background in advertising and journalism. Her main passions are eating more than physically capable, and exploring Toronto until she knows it better than the locals… which may take a while.