What’s on the menu at Omai, a new sake and temaki bar in Baldwin Village

What’s on the menu at Omai, a new sake and temaki bar in Baldwin Village

Name: Omai Restaurant
Contact: 3 Baldwin St., 647-341-7766, omairestaurant.ca, @omai.restaurant
Neighbourhood: Chinatown
Owners: Jason Ching (WonderPho) and Edward Bang
Chef: Edward Bang (Patria, Canoe and NYC’s Eleven Madison Park)

The food

Inspired by the small izakayas found in Japan, Bang’s short menu features a whole bunch of temaki (hand rolls) made-to-order with fresh seafood and served pre-seasoned, one at a time. Other small snacks are made using local ingredients but infused with international flavours influenced by Bang’s training in Japanese (Togo, Richmond), American (Eleven Madison Park), Canadian (Canoe, Weslodge) and Spanish (Patria) cuisines. Weekday lunch sets feature an assortment of hand-roll combos, and smaller versions of kitchen favourites, like fried chicken or butternut squash croquettes.

House pickles include chayote, mustard greens and beet-stained daikon radish. $4.


A trio of croquettes contain a molten core of butternut squash and Oka cheese. Served with house-made nori aïoli. $9.


Fingerling potatoes topped with house-made bacon and cod-roe mayo. $9.


Broccoli with lemon aïoli, bonito, crème fraiche and red-onion pickles. $8.


Buttermilk fried chicken is seasoned with a house-made, Japanese eight-spice blend and served with ramp aïoli. $10.


Slow-cooked and natto-glazed beef cheek with smoked butter, barley and fuyu persimmon. $15.


Chicken liver paté, finished with orange-blossom honey and served with nori-dusted chips made from dumpling wrappers. $11.


Wild New Zealand salmon temaki, with maple and daikon. $6.


Tamago temaki: sweet egg and truffle paste. $5.


Bang, preparing one of the temaki.


The drinks

Beer (some Japanese imports, some from Leslieville’s Godspeed) and a variety of sakes, all available by the glass.

Just a sample of Omai’s by-the-glass sakes.


Bang pours a glass of sake.


The space

Omai, Korean for “mother,” is an ode to the days Bang spent in his mom’s kitchen, learning how to cook. A place at one of the 24 counter seats means that service is provided by the chef and cooks behind the bar, who can also guide guests through the dishes and sake.

The chef’s counter.