Introducing: Blowfish on Bay, the financial district outpost of the King Street resto-lounge
The owners of King West Asian fusion resto-lounge Blowfish are banking on the Bay Street crowd with their newest venture, Blowfish on Bay, an expansive new restaurant in the Bay-Adelaide Centre. The new location boasts a more refined take on the look than the King Street original—think business lunches and after-work cocktails instead of late dinner and drinks.
Originally geared towards retail, the 3,500-square-foot space was a challenge to configure, says designer Johnson Chou, who outfitted the space in metal and dark woods for a glamorous but stately look that exemplifies Blowfish’s east-meets-west vibe. “We wanted to create a flow through the space, and a feel that is evocative of being underwater,” Chou says. A bronze-walled walkway leads diners into the main room, where the bar area and dining room are divided by a backlit translucent screen. At the far end of the bar, in-house sushi chefs will work behind a station featuring a Hoshizaki countertop cooler. The dining room features several eye-catching elements, from the gilded, round 10-seat private booth to a chandelier crafted from crystal-filled Pyrex tubes. Custom-made walnut tables and plush banquettes in chocolate tones give the space a more polished look than the King Street location.
Much of Blowfish’s original menu remains intact, along with the kitchen’s focus on “tying Asian flavours into everything,” says co-owner Joseph Siahou. To that end, Blowfish on Bay will feature a full lunch menu (including two prix fixe options) and several new dishes created specifically for this location. At dinnertime, executive chef G.Q. Pan’s offerings include Angus beef striploin with Yukon mash in a port wine reduction ($22) and Kobe beef tartare with miso and pickled ginger ($20). The lunch menu offers lighter options, like the goji berry salad with baby greens, lotus root and Asian pear, tossed in a kelp-infused orange vinaigrette ($12) and tuna tacos in crispy won ton wrappers ($18). A new take on the signature ebi shooter hand roll features tiger prawn tempura, mango, lettuce, avocado and golden tobiko wrapped in soy paper ($16).
Pastry chef Angela Jane McLeod says the new location will offer more dessert options, like her latest creation: cinnamon doughnuts filled with yuzu-flavoured cream ($6). Mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda (who won the Toronto edition of the international Made With Love cocktail competition earlier this week) is taking advantage of the larger space to make his own fruit cordials and bitters for a new lineup of cocktails (the signature fruity saketinis also remain on the menu), including a few virgin offerings ($6) made from fresh herbs and juices for the lunchtime crowd. Unexpected ingredients, like tamarind purée, lend the Thirsty Traveller cocktail ($16) a smoky-sweet flavour, while the Yuzuka ($13) combines coconut and lemongrass sake with rum, yuzu and milky Calpico.
Blowfish on Bay, 333 Bay St., 416-860-0606, blowfishrestaurant.com.