What’s on the menu at Planta, the brand’s new Queen West location with vegan sushi and dim sum

What’s on the menu at Planta, the brand’s new Queen West location with vegan sushi and dim sum

Name: Planta Queen
Contact: 180 Queen St. W., 647-812-1221, plantarestaurants.com, @plantaqueen
Neighbourhood: Financial District
Previously: Nota Bene
Owners: The Chase Hospitality Group (The Chase, The Chase Fish and Oyster, Kasa Moto, Colette Grand Café, Planta, Arthur’s Restaurant), David Lee (Nota Bene, Carbon Bar, Splendido) and David Grutman (Planta South Beach, and Miami’s LIV, Story, Komodo, Lomodo Lounge, OTL)
Chef: David Lee

The food

The menu at this second Toronto Planta location (there’s also one in South Beach) concentrates on Asian flavours inspired by Lee’s upbringing: dumplings, plant-based nigiri, a meatless version of Lee’s signature slaw from Nota Bene, dan dan noodles, kung pao eggplant and pineapple fried rice. Weekend brunch includes a short menu of dim sum items, like a lotus leaf-wrapped sticky rice with mushrooms and truffles, and Hakka-style stuffed-and-steamed tofu.

Gomae consists of chilled, cooked spinach in a sesame dressing topped with puffed rice. $12.25.

 

Lacy pot stickers are filled with crispy snow pea leaves and served with soy sauce with truffle oil, and wasabi. $13.50.

 

Crispy black bean dumplings are served with a yuzu-soy dipping sauce. $13.

 

Steamed water spinach and shiitake dumplings area topped with black beans and a ginger-chili vinaigrette. $12.25.

 

Potato-truffle dumplings are dressed in a broth of fuzzy melon, coconut milk and lemongrass. $14.75.

 

A quartet of dumplings.

 

Crispy dosa comes with pickled cabbage, avocado and coconut chutney made from charred coconuts. $16.50.

 

The Shanghai Slaw is a riff on Nota Bene’s signature duck salad. This meatless version is made with green papaya, cabbage, lemongrass and coriander, all topped with a pile of shaved onion rings. $14.75.

 

Nigiri include unagi eggplant made with lemon and pomegranate, truffle- and soy-brushed mushroom, as well as ahi watermelon topped with grated ginger. $5.25 for two pieces.

 

For the wonton soup, a mushroom-kombu broth comes with snow pea dumplings, lemongrass, ginger, and coriander. $8.95.

 

The sweet-and-sour Shanghai Noodles are made with shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, pickled ginger, sesame, burdock root and shoots. $17.25.

 

Kung Pao Eggplant is a stir-fried dish made with Thai basil, yuba, peanuts, Szechuan pepper, lime and (more) peanuts. $14.75.

 

Lee grew up loving fruit pastilles, so he created a passionfruit version (right). There are also coconut-matcha truffles (left). $3 each.

 

The forbidden rice pudding sits in a pool of young Thai coconut, with mango, coconut milk and vanilla ice cream. $11.50.

 

Lee’s version of Halo Halo features grass jelly paired with matcha gelato, tropical fruit, purple potato and condensed coconut milk. $12.

 

The Hawaiian Pineapple is a whimsical creation inspired by bubble tea. It features bubble tea pearls, pineapple, passion fruit gelato, lime leaf and strands made with pineapple juice and agar-agar. $11.50.

 

“Trying to get Famiglia Baldassarre to customize plant-based noodles for us was a good challenge for him too. We’re very lucky,” says chef David Lee, pictured here.

 

The drinks

Sustainable, organic, biodynamic and vegan wine options, along with a few beers, some sake, cold-pressed juices, kombucha and teas. The main focus, however, is on the cheekily named house cocktails made with cold-pressed juices and house-infused spirits.

The Full Moon is a mix of tequila, mezcal, Briottet coconut, Cointreau and cold-pressed juice. $15.25.

 

Herb Your Enthusiasm is made with Thai chili-infused tequila, Cointreau, lime, pineapple and a spicy herb syrup. $15.25.

 

The Berry White is made with raspberry soju, grapefruit, yuzu, raspberry-ginger syrup. It’s topped with aquafaba and freeze-dried raspberry powder. $15.25.

 

The space

Toronto-based Nivek Ramas is behind the Chinese courtyard-inspired dining room filled with banquette seating and large tables outfitted with Lazy Susans.

Here’s the main dining room.

 

Artist Candice Kaye is responsible for the hand-painted murals decorating the dining room walls.

 

Here’s the lounge area. 

 

Exposed brick and intricate metal archways line the loggia sandwiched between the bar and dining room.

 

This here is the private room.

 

Here’s a closer look at the Lazy Susan.