Introducing: Darwin, Little Italy’s new modern French bistro
Name: Darwin Bistro Bar
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Contact info: 651 College St., 647-348-9347, Facebook Page, @DarwinBistroBar
Owners: Husband-and wife Junaid and Neeman Rahman, and Junaid’s brother Ryan Rahman
Chef: Jean Regis Raynaud, previously of Le Paradis and Paris’s Hotel Costes
The food: Modern French cuisine with international flavours, with starters like moules frites in a tom yum soup ($12) and curried shrimp cocktail with creamed avocado ($10). Mains include five-spice braised pork belly on madras rice ($18) as well as more traditional bistro fare, like a classic steak frites ($25).
The drinks: Julian Watson’s (Mistura) cocktail menu consists of tweaked classics, like an old-fashioned with maple syrup ($10) and a Darwin martini ($12), made with black cherry vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and prosecco.
The place: Darwin’s haute-rustic interior, designed by Neeman Rahman, will be familiar to patrons of L.A.B., which previously occupied the space. New barn board wainscoting has been added to complement the wide plank floor and exposed brick walls. At the back of the tiny dining room, a large wine barrel stamped with the restaurant’s name sits on the back bar.
By the numbers:
• 32 seats inside, with additional spots to come once the patio opens
• $25, the price of a three-course prix fixe on Sunday industry nights
• 9, the number of cocktails for $10 or less
• 3 beers on draught, 6 by the bottle, including local craft brews like and bistro staples