Introducing: WindUp Restaurant, a Caribbean spot on College from Barque alumni
Name: WindUp Restaurant
Contact: 382 College St., 647-349-6373, winduprestaurant.ca, @eatdrinkwindup
Previously: Wind Up Bird
Owner: Whitney Knowles and Bryan Birch (both Barque alumni)
Chefs: Bryan Birch (Barque, North 44) and Ryan Graham (Tutti Matti)
The Food: “This is a Toronto version of a Caribbean restaurant,” explains Birch, who has taken Jamaican and Trinidadian favourites and infused them with global flavours. Salt cod fritters, for example, are married with Canadian (bacon foam) and Moroccan (preserved lemon) elements. In an homage to the city’s never-ending taco obsession, the curried goat roti is served open-faced and topped with cilantro and pickled mango. The rest of the menu is rounded out with more traditional Caribbean eats (jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish) plus a smattering of international plates (falafel lettuce wrap, sesame-crusted salmon with lotus root, pulled pork tostadas). The brunch menu includes an oxtail benny served on a coconut bake, which might make for a good post-parade hangover cure come Caribana.
The Drinks: A short wine list made up of new world bottles, but all available by the glass; classic cocktails (dark ‘n’ stormy, rum punch, negroni) and daily specials (like a grilled pineapple mojito); and a selection of craft beer, the majority of which are local brews—with the exception of Red Stripe, of course.
The Place: Birch and Knowles kept the previous restaurant’s name so they wouldn’t need to apply for any new licenses. The 30-seat room is minimalist in design, but warmed up with wood features like a cedar wall, saloon doors and a black walnut bar (with stools designed by Marco Pecota of the Junction’s Pekota). A patio accommodates up to 40 street-side diners and drinkers.