What’s on the menu at Mahjong Bar, a hideaway cocktail bar on Dundas West

What’s on the menu at Mahjong Bar, a hideaway cocktail bar on Dundas West

Name: Mahjong Bar
Contact: 1276 Dundas St. W., 647-291-6097, @mahjongbar
Neighbourhood: Little Portugal
Owners: Emily Blake, Joshua LeBlanc, Andrew Perry and Kyle Wong

The drinks

The house cocktails are fresh, funky and packed with pop culture allusions—there’s even a very-2017 Salt Bae one. Asian flavours (pandan leaves, shiso, umeboshi) and spirits (soju, sake, Japanese whiskey) feature prominently throughout. The esoteric draught selection includes Sweden’s Omnipollo Zodiak IPA and cider aged in merlot barrels from the Solera Cider Project. The list of bottled beers includes brews from Portugal, Hawaii, Beijing and exotic Milwaukee.

The Stay Cosy is made with sake and soju with a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, and a medley of herbaceous flavours (shiso, rosemary and green strawberry). $14.


The Peach Panther is an easy-sipping combo of salted watermelon, soju, sherry, lemon and sugar. $13.


The food

Tricia Soo (who co-owns Ossington’s Malaysian restaurant, Soos) was brought on to create Mahjong Bar’s menu of Chinese small plates.

This mushroom-stuffed pastry called a half-moon also comes in a pork permutation. $10.


The shrimp-pork wontons get a kick from Szechuan chili oil. $10.


Eggplant and crispy pork mixed with preserved turnips are served with two mantou buns. $8.


The Shanghai noodles are topped with star-anise-and-ginger-braised beef shank, and a lashing of chili oil. $13.


Snacks on snacks on snacks.


The space

Mahjong Bar is tucked behind a Pepto-pink storefront that has shelves stocked with shrimp chips, instant noodles and RuPaul votive candles. There’s a clutch of chairs and few tall cans in the fridge, but the real action happens behind the curtain.

The storefront.


Snacks for sale in the bodega.


At first, it looks like you’re entering a meat locker.


It leads into a tiny anteroom decked with a few tchotchkes and a keyhole-shaped door.


The keyhole entrance is similar to one at Cosy Restaurant and Tavern, the Chinese restaurant co-owner Kyle Wong’s grandparents opened in St. Catharines back in the ’60s. The restaurant is still serving egg rolls today.


Stepping into the dimly lit 2,000-square foot room, the vibe shifts from Wes Anderson to Wong Kar-wai. Design firm Grey North were tasked with bringing a mid-century Hong Kong aesthetic to the former Portuguese sports bar.


Gabriella Lo painted the jungle mural that spans the length of the sitting area. The four-tops are on a raised platform, so dance parties won’t interrupt diners.


A picture from the movie that inspired the bar’s aesthetic, In the Mood for Love, hangs above the stairs.