Toronto’s Best New Restaurants: Ku-Kum Kitchen

Toronto’s Best New Restaurants: Kū-Kŭm Kitchen

Kū-Kŭm Kitchen

The best appetizer in town is made of edible blooms, lightly macerated woodland berries and a drift of whipped cream that tastes unlike any whipped cream you’ve had before—more floral, almost citrusy. It’s an original distillation of ephemeral, peak-season produce. And that mystery ingredient in the whipped cream? Rose hips.

Chef Joseph Shawana.

Rose hips, along with milk pods, cattail hearts, and game like elk and venison, dem­onstrate how personal Kū-Kŭm Kitchen is for chef Joseph ­Shawana. Like ­passionate chefs everywhere, he’s cooking what he knows. Yet what brought him the most notoriety and national ­attention this past year was a protest, and an ensuing counter-­protest, over seal meat, which he sources from the commercial hunt in Quebec and ­Newfoundland, his way of honouring Inuit culture. Whatever his motivation, I vouch that seal tartare, mixed with quail egg and smeared on a slice of bannock, is delicious.

581 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-519-2638,

Seal loin tartare, topped with a raw quail egg.