The popularity of Mediterranean food, with its super-fresh ingredients and bright flavours, has certainly been on the rise amongst Torontonians, with Greek restaurant Mamakas quickly becoming one of the most adored spots along the Ossington strip. Well, there's good news for both loyal fans and those new to the Greek food scene: they've opened a sister restaurant right across the street called Bar Koukla, and their menu of "meze" (Greek sharing plates), natural wines and gorgeously-crafted cocktails is sure to impress.
The bar is open and light-filled, with a palette of warm neutrals and seating at high- and low-top tables as well as along the central bar. Their extensive selection of natural and organic Greek wines is displayed throughout the space, and the bar counter is flecked with bright colours and copper accents.
Small dishes, raw seafood and a selection of meats make up the Greek-inspired menu at Koukla, with many of the items incorporating fresh vegetables, herbs and typical Mediterranean ingredients like tangy yogurt, feta and lemon.
Shareable starters are abundant, like a hefty triangle of creamy feta cheese wrapped in rich phyllo pastry, coated in honey and sprinkled with sesame, plus fried calamari, a couple of salads and their twist on traditional Dolmades, featuring Swiss chard leaves stuffed with herbed rice. Protein-focused menu options include a pickled octopus salad, grilled lamb ribs with tzatziki, a fried trout sandwich and oysters by the half dozen.
The Sumac Sour pairs the sweetness of blood orange perfectly with the tang of sumac, a Middle Eastern spice with a distinctive lemon profile, while their loose interpretation of the Old Fashioned features whiskey, walnut and white chocolate. A curated selection of natural Greek wines can be ordered by the bottle or glass, with all bottles going for half price on Sunday nights.
Bar Manager Scott Langley makes the Sumac Sour.
If you're looking for a laid-back yet sophisticated spot to share flavour-forward snacks and drinks with friends (or a date), this is a place to check out.
The Milk + Honey, with white chocolate, whiskey, walnut and honey.