Introducing: Nana, the Khao San Road spin-off restaurant that (finally!) opened on Queen West
Contact Info: 785 Queen St. W., 647-352-5773
Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Previously: Friendly Thai
Chef/Owner: Monte Wan, who also owns Khao San Road on Adelaide Street
The Food: Owner Monte Wan amused himself during the prolonged construction of his new Queen West restaurant by staging an elaborate media hoax that saw the storefront cycle through a bunch of silly restaurant concepts. (You may recall signage for places called “Cakehole” and “Wheels Keep on Truckin.”) The Thai eatery that finally opened at 785 Queen West isn’t based on any of those jokey ideas, though it is a bit edgier than sister spot Khao San Road. Inspired by all four regions of Thailand, the menu focuses on dishes you don’t always see in North America. The list includes laab (ground meat seasoned with herbs and toasted rice), pork satay seasoned with palm sugar, and a traditional noodle soup that’s commonly served off riverboats in Northern Thailand. (It’s made with three cuts of beef and a flavour-boosting shot of blood.) Keep an eye out for bar snacks by former Momofuku Daishō chef Matt Blondin and gelatos from Kensington sweet shop Millie Creperie.
The Drinks: Experimental cocktail studio BevLab will be steering the Thai-inspired drinks menu, which hasn’t yet been finalized. For now, Chang beer is available by the bottle.
The Place: Nana (pronounced nah-nah) is the name of Bangkok’s entertainment district, which is crammed with outdoor food stalls. To capture the street-selling vibe, Wan decorated the space with cobblestones, mint-green shutters and strings of miniature Thai flags. Guests are encouraged to treat the restaurant like a public square—if they spill beer on the floor, it’s no big deal. (“It enhances the charm of the cobblestone,” says Wan.)