Soma, the Distillery’s chocolate mecca, to open new downtown café

Soma, the Distillery’s chocolate mecca, to open new downtown café


Soma’s new space (Image: David Castellan) 

It takes time to coax a cacao bean into chocolate, and it took seven years for David Castellan and Cynthia Leung, Soma’s husband and wife co-owners, to heed the siren call of expansion. Bolstered by the ongoing success of their Distillery location, the bean-to-bar chocolatier and café will be spawning a second location at 443 King Street West, near Spadina, and a couple of doors down from the Calphalon shop.

In addition to their long list of hand-made truffles, single-origin chocolate bars, house-made gelato and espresso, the new space—a former upscale kitchen design studio—will allow chef Simon Blackwell to introduce a short card of simple savouries: dressed flat breads, focaccia, and pastries. Blackwell, 41, has been with Castellan and Leung since the beginning, but he learned his stuff in some top kitchens, here and abroad, including Canoe and London’s River Café. The diminutive space—about 20 seats—will feature Soma’s signature glassed-in choco-lab so patrons can take in the alchemy.

The city is taking its sweet time with the building permits, but Castellan remains hopeful for a late March opening. In the meantime, he’s already courting the locals—he and Rodney’s Oyster House are already talking about a collaboration.