Our man about town shares his latest findings
Sexy Fish Miami
Sexy Fish London first opened its doors in 2015. Owned by British businessman and restaurateur, Richard Caring. It’s a celebrity drop-in spot in London’s affluent Mayfair district that draws a crowd every bit as stylish as its enviable location. Recently opened in Miami with Chef Director and Michelin-starred master Björn Weissgerber at the helm, Sexy Fish, Miami’s extraordinary menu juxtaposes both amazing flavours and presentation techniques that are, dare I say, just down right sexy.
The destination bar offers a snazzy list of cocktails, full of carefree character and adventurous spirit. Accompanying the cocktail menu is a carefully selected wine and Champagne list with ample Dom Perignon and Opus for celebrations.
Immersive entertainment, stunning design and the promise of truly exceptional tastes make SFM a must visit hot spot.
Three Small batch dips from Poet Kitchen
From the Poet kitchen of Mohsen and Amir, come three produced in Toronto dips. The poet, their inspiration, is the 13th Century Persian Sufi mystic Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmi.
Each dip comes in an attractive reusable glazed earthenware pot. There are no artificial or unexpected ingredients to be found. Perhaps in a nod to Rumi who believed music, poetry and dance were a path to God there’s a QR code on the pot that leads to a selection of curated music. Even wine and beer pairings are offered. But what of the dips?
Creamy Turmeric Hummus
The immediate sensation of this neon yellow dip is its velvety texture. Its cream and savoury flavour is lifted by citrus notes and followed by a lovely, but never overpowering, zing of turmeric. Wonderful.
Smoky Eggplant With Fried Garlic
Again, that luxurious sweet creamy base but this time with a pretty, pungent smokiness from the open fire that has roasted the eggplant. All this rounded out by fried garlic counterpoints.
Charred Salsa With Pomegranate
In contrast to the seductive creaminess of the other two dips, this one is more assertive. Inspired by the pomegranate’s natural home, Iran’s gardens of Saveh, it brings together the fiery flavours of New Mexico and a unique spiciness that tinged with sweetness results in a dip of lingering complexity.
The Macallan range is one of my go-to whiskey’s—reliable, approachable, and good value. It goes without saying that I gladly jumped at the chance to try two of their seasonal limited-edition products: The Rich Cacao from their Harmony collection and A Night on Earth in Scotland.
Bewitchingly, both came with food pairing suggestions. Shortbread and Chocolate. That’s got all my food groups covered!
The night referred to is ‘Hogmanay,” the Scottish celebration of New Year, where the first guest to visit your house brings coal, shortbread and whiskey. I found genuine Scottish shortbread but fell short on coal. No mind.
Sip neat (of course) with shortbread, I’m urged. This, they say, is a whiskey that picks up on the buttery rich shortbread but is punctuated by festive notes of dried orange. I agree. This is a very smooth scotch that is rounded by maturation in oak sherry casks and ex-bourbon barrels. I noticed rich almond butter notes that play well with the more savoury crunchy elements of the shortbread along with a counterbalance of spice. This is definitely at the top of my shopping list for next New Year.
Rich Cacao is a collaboration organized by celebrated pastry chef Jordi Roca with Spanish chocolatier Casa Cacao. This however, posed a problem. Pair with chocolate but, not any old chocolate. It has to be Trinitario bean chocolate, noted for its fine full-bodied flavour. Fortunately, Swiss chocolatier Läderach has Trinidad 80% chocolate as part of their terrior highlighting Grand Cru range.
The whisky is delightfully indulgent. Chocolaty notes with vanilla and almond mingled with the rounded fruit as the chocolate melts on my palate. A tingle of spice on the finish. Wonderful stuff.
Zen Kyoto Sushi & Ramen
Food courts, especially those in downtown office locations, have been decimated during COVID. So, it came as a bit of a surprise to see Chef Jimmy Shi had opened a new lunch takeout spot under First Canadian Place.
Wandering through the PATH just before Christmas, my eye was caught by his Japanese minimalist décor amongst the other shuttered spaces. Chef Shi, it seems, is intent on elevating food court Japanese fare.
His interest in Edomae sushi is intriguing. He tells me that preparing the rice using red wine vinegar (akazu) made using sake lees, the yeast slurry left over from sake production, is key. In Japan sushi chefs are judged first on the quality of their rice. Apparently, using Akazu results in a deeper more flavourful umami taste.
I was also impressed with an off-menu item Chef Shi was trying out. The large roll was a visually arresting red-orange consisting of shrimp with pollock surimi topped with zingy mayonnaise and Jalapeno. Even the takeout container had a Japanese simple aesthetic.
Not all the prepared dishes are Edomae so you may have to ask or get chef to make something for you. But, If you want sushi beyond the quotidian rolls available elsewhere it’s worth the wait.
Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Grill and Air Fryer
I have toyed with indoor grills before, unsuccessfully. They promise, but rarely come close to the taste and experience of summer outdoor grilling. This counter-top grill changed my opinion. While it’s a heavy counter hogging appliance my grilled steak came out perfectly—evenly medium rare with a well-seared surface complete with grill marks.
Surprisingly there was no smoke and the Ninja’s exterior was only warm to the touch (I measured it with an infra red heat gun). With the hood down and the splatter shield in place, there was no kitchen mess to clean up either. My grilled vegetables were equally successful with the grill bringing out their voluptuous sweetness.
Emboldened, I used the companion air fryer to have a go at the healthier version of homemade chips. (French fries to those from this side of the pond.) Just a couple of tablespoons of oil and the fries were crispy and flavourful. I admit to prior scepticism over the utility of an air fryer, but I’m becoming a convert. Particularly as social media is awash with innovative air fryer recipes.
After a short learning curve to master with the numerous settings and options I was able to get the most out of this pair of versatile appliances. The grill plate, the air fryer basket, the griddle and the splatter shield are all dishwasher safe so clean up is quick and easy. Perhaps I’ll have to extend my condo’s kitchen counter space after all.