A look inside Selva, the Entertainment District’s new jungle-themed neon dream with a menu by chef Nuit Regular

A look inside Selva, the Entertainment District’s new jungle-themed neon dream with a menu by chef Nuit Regular

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Name: Selva Toronto
Contact: 221 Richmond St. W., 416-979-3000, selvatoronto.com, @selvatoronto
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owner: Oliver Geddes (The Fifth Social Club, RendezViews)
Executive chef: Nuit Regular (PAI, Kiin, By Chef Nuit, Sabai Sabai, and Sukhothai)
Seating: 100 (but can accommodate 520 for events); 100 more on their streetside and laneway patios
Covid-19 safety measures: Frequent sanitization, mask policy, hand sanitizer station at the door, proof of vaccination required and contact tracing.
Accessibility: There is a flight of stairs down to the basement space

The space

The super-colourful space aims to transport diners and drinkers from the concrete jungle to something approximating the actual jungle. “Not everyone can escape to Costa Rica or afford to buy a cottage or vacation property,” said Geddes. “So, I started to work with this idea of escapism—being transported to a different dimension and having all of your senses overwhelmed.” The dining entire room—the floors, the walls, the ceiling—was treated as a canvas and covered with fluorescent murals, spray-painted by visual artists Clandestinos Art, the same team behind the artwork at RendezViews. The blacklight (everything old is new again) really makes it all pop. Selva opens Nov. 4, but they’re now taking reservations.

The food

Share-friendly dishes that—thanks to a colourful riot of veggies, fruit salsas and edible flowers—are as visually captivating as the space they’re served in. The current menu includes various ceviches, grilled whole fish, Wagyu beef skewers, DIY taco plates, and vegan and keto-friendly dip platters. For dessert, there’s a sweet corn and butterfly pea flower gelato made in collaboration with Death in Venice Gelato. It’s not the Thai fare Regular is known for, but her own takes on South American dishes—with the odd Thai ingredient or cooking technique tossed in for good measure.

The scallop ceviche features bay scallops with grilled corn, sweet potato, celery, serrano chili, pickled onion, coriander, lime, makrut lime, passion fruit, lemongrass, mint, and edible flowers. Served with tortilla chips. $18.
Here, Regular puts the finishing touches on the vegan coconut ceviche.
And here it is again. Fresh young coconut is finished with coconut milk, sweet potato, grilled corn, celery, red serrano chili, makrut lime, passion fruit, mint and edible flower. It’s served with tortilla chips. $18.
For the grilled corn, Regular shaves the kernels off the cob and tops them with cotija cheese, coconut butter, paprika and coriander. $15.
The grilled Wagyu beef skewers are served with tropical fruit salsa and a red pepper sauce. $52.
The DIY taco platter comes with corn, cabbage, lettuce, chayote, mango, red bell pepper, red serrano chilli, onion, lime wedges, guacamole, tomato salsa, and pepper sauce. For wraps, there’s a choice of yellow corn tortillas or romaine lettuce, plus various proteins to choose from (crispy fish, grilled prawns, plant-based protein, beef stew). Pictured here is the grilled chicken. $21 (three pieces) or $40 (six pieces).
Chef Nuit Regular.
The drinks

Nine cocktails on tap, including some classic creations and a few signature ones, like the Espresso Lion’s Mane made with Ketel One vodka, Galliano and PowerPlant Superfoods THINK coffee infused with lion’s mane mushrooms (no, not those kinds of mushrooms). There’s also a selection of beer on tap and in bottles, including a bunch of other stuff (boozy seltzers and gin-based sodas) from Collective Arts.

Selva’s batched paloma is made with Don Julio Blanco tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and soda water. $16.
Made with Tanqueray Rangpur gin and Fever Tree elderflower tonic water, the Selva Glow-Up G&T fluoresces under a blacklight (thanks to the quinine in tonic water). $12.