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The Gusto 54 group behind Gusto 101, Gusto 501, Trattoria Nervosa and Chubby's Jamaican Kitchen is opening another new venture on the Ossington strip in partnership with prominent Chef Stuart Cameron. The new Middle Eastern restaurant celebrates the eloquence, simplicity and freshness of Old World cooking with an innovative twist.
Designed by Navigate Design and built by Atlas Worx, Azhar is equipped with a wood-burning oven and open concept kitchen. Chef Stuart Cameron and restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, CEO of Gusto 54 have come together to open this new venture at 96 Ossington Avenue, making it a perfect addition to the bustling strip of restaurants and bars in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood.
“Having a restaurant on the Ossington Strip has always been a dream for me and it's a great honour to be part of one of the most celebrated culinary scenes in the city,” says Janet Zuccarini, CEO of Gusto 54. “To be in great company alongside this incredible community of restaurants is something I’m grateful for during these challenging times.”
Formerly the Executive Chef at some of Toronto’s most celebrated restaurants including Byblos, Patria, and Mira, Chef Cameron is bringing his skills and expertise to Azhar. Working with Azhar is a "culmination of his deep love and respect for the simplicity and freshness of Old World cooking combined with his own imaginative twists," says Cameron.
“It’s so important to me to do this right. Middle Eastern cuisine is something I’ve been cooking for years."
Fitted with a custom built wood-fired oven, the menu features house-made pepper pastes, hand-rolled couscous, handmade halloumi, freshly baked bread and skewered meats and seafood cooked over fire.
“The wood oven at the heart of Azhar is the cornerstone of everything that will happen in the kitchen - the entire menu will be formed around it. Cooking with fire kindles a primal feeling in all of us and is something that we hope will come across in all of the dishes," he continues.
Using locally sourced produce and meats combined with imported spice blends, Azhar Kitchen & Bar will focus on traditional Middle Eastern dishes and authentic flavours.
Azhar is set to open this year and will offer dinner service Tuesday to Sunday as well as weekend brunch. Indoor dining will be dependent on provincial Public Health guidelines at the time of opening. Like many Toronto restaurants, Azhar will also offer at-home dining experiences and takeout when they open.