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ODDSEOUL has been a fixture of the Ossington strip since 2012. In a city that has seen aggressive turnover for restaurants and dining locations year after year, this serves as an accomplishment worth considering. So when news came that ODDSEOUL would have new owners, the question became what’s next?
For Naveen Chakravarti, the new owner of ODDSEOUL, the answer is to keep the essence of the restaurant the exact same, all while introducing new concepts to ensure growth.
What becomes apparent as you walk through the same familiar doors is that everything is just as it was. It looks exactly like ODDSEOUL has always looked, fitted with the same vintage-inspired interior, dim lighting and incredible old school hip-hop and R&B playing on the speakers.
Although, the menus have been altered during the exchange in owners, and is where customers will see the most updates.
The bar menu has evolved, offering new cocktail options that are innovative and exciting. Chakravarti says that the goal of the new menu was to keep everything simple. The cocktails are made in three, four steps max, and the alcohol is infused, imparting flavour at every opportunity.
“Several cocktails and refreshing flavours. Nothing too intense, nothing too intimidating. We wanted to have drinks that pair well with Asian spices and Asian tastes.”
The Gat Fire is a popular new option, and is a bourbon-forward drink made with grapefruit juice and spicy honey ginger syrup. Following along with the refreshing cocktail mandate, the Gat Fire is smooth going down with a clean kick of spice. The grapefruit juice perfumes a citrus undertone, with follow-through of the sharp ginger and spicy honey to round out the drink.
And with new owners, comes new menus. For the most part. When Chakravarti took over ownership, he made it a point to keep the essence of ODDSEOUL intact, and that’s seen through keeping some of the fan favourite dishes that have made ODDSEOUL the fixture on Ossington that it is, but with a little twist.
“We wanted to make things a little bigger, we wanted to change things. Like the KFC wings, we took the old recipe and put a spin on it. We put a little more bite on it.”
Easily the most ordered dish on the menu, the KFC wings––as in Korean Fried Chicken and not to be confused with its Kentucky counterpart––have evolved into monster wings that are stickier, saucier and most definitely meatier. Three dino wings are served in this dish that are covered in a new spice blend, breaded and deep-fried until crispy. They are then dropped in a gochujang sauce that’s tangy, sweet and sticky, almost reaching the point of being a little too messy, but not quite.
The size of the wings allows for the sauce to cover every centimetre of surface area, making for a juicy, saucy and delicious chicken wing.
Sticking with the staples, the Kimchi Fried Rice is still as warm and welcoming as ever. Reminiscent of a dish that would be had at home, this fried rice feels like an everything-in-the-fridge kind of dish.
Kimchi is sautéed with rice, onion and pickled vegetables, and finished with scallions and a fried egg on top. The rice is perfectly fried so as to not become slick and greasy. Vegetables are plentiful, offering different bites depending on the ingredients that land on your chopsticks. The fried egg finishes the dish, acting as liquid gold as the yolk is popped. Filling up every corner, becoming one with each grain of rice, the egg yolk completes the dish with luxurious quality.
The AAA sirloin acts a bit as the showstopper of the menu. As Chakravarti explains, the sirloin is marinated for 48 hours in a bulgogi marinade and fired to order, ensuring the quality of the meat is preserved and the marinade has as long as possible to marry itself with the steak.
Served like a traditional sizzler, the masterpiece comes to the table already sizzling, with the pepper, onions and scallions still actively cooking away on the table. The sirloin is sliced into thick, juicy strips, with the weight of each strip felt as you grab with your chopsticks. There’s a hard sear on the outside of the meat while the inside is still a gorgeous pink, ensuring that the meat is as soft and tender as it is delicious.
Check out ODDSEOUL and their new menu on all days except Tuesday from 6 p.m. to close, at 90 Ossington Avenue.