What’s on the menu at Lobby, a new cocktail and tapas bar on Queen West

What’s on the menu at Lobby, a new cocktail and tapas bar on Queen West

Name: Lobby
Contact: 1032 Queen St. W., 416-901-6768, lobby.ca, @lobby.ca
Neighbourhood: Little Portugal
Previously: Wallen
Owners: Reza Abedi (Goldie, Lavelle) and Nick Fiorucci
Chef: Will Serre (The Grove, Acadia)
Accessibility: No barrier at entrance; washroom down a flight of stairs

The food

Chef Serre describes his menu as “Latin flavours influenced by Nikkei cuisine,” which means Japanese dishes like sashimi lashed with avocado oil and topped with jalapeño and ground cherry slivers, or a quinoa salad with shiitakes and edamame. Not everything on the menu abides by the fusion theme, though: the empanadas, for instance, don’t mess around with the classic formula of juicy meat (or mushroom) fillings and flaky dough.

The cured trout sashimi gets a dose of salt and citrus from ponzu, heat from jalapeño, sweet from blood orange segments and ground cherry, and a rich nuttiness from avocado oil. $15.

 

An order of empanadas arrives comes with chimichurri and hot sauce. The empanada fillings rotate, but typically there’s a chicken, a beef and a vegetarian option on offer. $12 for three.

 

The quinoa salad is made with shiitake mushrooms, avocado and edamame. The tuft on top is deep-fried yuca. $15.

 

The glaze for these chicken wings is made from a blend of miso, tangerines, and aji amarillo (a Peruvian hot pepper). $15.

 

This short rib is one of the few composed dishes on offer. The beef is braised in orange juice, onions, aji Amarillo and cane sugar until tender. Some butternut squash purée, chimichurri-roasted carrots, and furikake-dusted rice finish the plate. $23.

 

The drinks

There are over a dozen signature cocktails on offer, and a lengthy spirits list including some eye-popping selections such as Patron Piedra ($110 an ounce) and Clase Azul Mezcal (a comparative steal at $53 a shot). The by-the-glass wine list sticks (mostly) to the Latin theme, with options from Spain, Chile and Argentina. The bottle selection is a bit more varied, pulling from Italy, California and France, too.

Don’t Call me Becky is a mix of Ungava gin, cayenne-pumpkin spice honey and citrus, all topped with an egg white foam. For the garnish: a sprig of torched rosemary. $16.

 

The Flying Flower gets its purple hue from a butterfly pea flower syrup, which is mixed with Grey Goose, St. Germain, lemon juice and egg whites. $18.

 

Smoke and Mirrors might look pretty (and potent) in pink. The wee coupe is packed with a mix of Absolut Grapefruit, Aperol and mezcal. A splash of grapefruit and lime juice, and some pink peppercorns, round out the drink. $16.

 

The Ossington is a citrus-forward cocktail made with Bombay Sapphire, limoncello, lemon tonic, juniper berries and thyme. $16

 

The space

As the name suggests, Lobby was inspired by the lobbies of fancy hotels, specifically those in Tulum, Mexico, where lush tropical greenery abounds. Co-owner Nick Fioucci, a Juno Award–winning DJ, is a house music devotee. “There’s a really healthy underground house scene in Toronto, but the more mainstream bars and clubs play hip hop, which is the pop music of today. We’re trying to bring a more eclectic vibe here, with a mix of house, lounge, open format and retro, playing a variety from night to night, but with an emphasis on deep house music you don’t typically hear anywhere else in the city” says Fiorucci.

The textured walls were hand painted by local artist Jenny Greco. Photo by Jag Gundu

 

Photo by Jag Gundu