Everything there is to eat and drink at Table Fare and Social, a new food hall and patio at CIBC Square
Including Thai street food, smash burgers, ramen and cocktails
Table Fare and Social isn’t your standard food court—officially speaking, it’s a food hall. For one thing, it looks more like a swanky restaurant, what with all the wood detail, soft lighting, sleek European furnishings and cozy booths. And in another departure from the time-honoured food-court tradition, it trades the usual basement digs for four storeys above ground, with floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural light. There’s even a patio area so customers can take their trays for an alfresco lunch.
Visitors will find a handful of upmarket vendors, with more set to take up residency over time. Right now, there’s Thai street food at Chaiyo, smashing smash burgers at Friday Burger Co, belly-warming bowls of ramen at Misoya and cocktails at In Good Spirits, the hall’s full-service bar. Open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., Table is the place to have lunch with colleagues, grab a snack and hunker down over your laptop (there’s free Wi-Fi) or meet for after-work dinner and drinks.
And because it’s meant to be a full-fledged neighbourhood hub, visitors can expect year-round programming like food tastings, live music, cooking classes, pop-ups and even trivia nights.
Here’s a look at everything there is to eat and drink.
Oliver Stern co-owned the now-closed Toronto Temperance Society, a cocktail bar in Little Italy. This is his second major project, adapted for the food-hall model. There’s a tight craft cocktail menu, which you can access by sitting at the bar, and a broader one for the general food hall that features less experimental (but no less delicious) drinks. To go with those tipples, chef David Salt serves gourmet buns, salads and bar snacks. Look out for tasting-menu events in the future.
All the buns at IGS are served on pillowy, savoury choux pastry (a version of the dough used to make eclairs). Here, duck is cooked sous vide in an allspice-and-scotch-bonnet-forward jerk seasoning, seared a la plancha and filled out with a bit of sweet potato ($6.50).
This is the house caesar, heavy on lemon and anchovies, finished with bacon and croutons ($15). On the left is the Strawberry Fields, a summery vodka-based sip with green chartreuse, house-made strawberry syrup and lemon juice, garnished with mint ($16).
Here we have an item off the secret menu: the seared foie gras bun with smoked apple purée and sweet potato ($18). The accoutrements will rotate, but the foie bun will always be there (if you know to ask for it). Next to it, off the craft menu, is the Cary Grant, a boozy bourbon-based cocktail with Lillet Blanc, Amaro Nonino, a touch of Cointreau and cardamom bitters ($20).
On the left, we have the Liquorish Dreams, a refreshing easy-drinker made with Tanqueray gin, Pernod pastis, house fennel and cucumber syrup, lemon, and soda ($15).
Chef Joe Friday’s first job was at a burger joint in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Since then, he’s travelled and cooked in high-end restaurants all across Europe—but he’s come full circle now with a burger spot of his own. There’s a lot of research behind Friday Burger Co.—he ate 250 burgers before designing his own menu. Friday’s recipe involves a top-secret spice mix he says is an ode to the American South, as are the sides on his menu, including a killer Mississippi mud pie.
Friday thinks that a double bacon cheeseburger is the quintessential hamburger. His includes crispy onions, pickles, applewood-smoked bacon and a secret house sauce ($16).
Here we have the buttermilk-marinated Nashville fried chicken sandwich, which is just spicy enough. It’s topped with a dollop of tangy mayo-based white barbecue sauce, which is often served with chicken dishes in Alabama ($15).
When Friday was a kid, he would go to the skating rink every Friday and eat chili cheese fries. When he became a professional chef, he promised himself that he would put the loaded spuds on his menu someday, and here they are: a big pile of fries topped with house-made chili and cheese sauce ($8.50).
Just one year after chef Nuit Regular reopened Kiin, her royal Thai restaurant, comes Chaiyo, her love letter to Thai street food. Behind the counter is a hot table stocked with rotating selections for combos, a couple of composed chef features, and a few mainstays like pad thai and khao soi. Customers can expect a mix of familiar favourites and bolder, punchier dishes similar to those found in Thai markets.
Here we have khao ka moo, a dish of deep-fried and braised pork hock seasoned with Chinese five spice and served on a bed of rice along with bracing pickled mustard greens, Chinese broccoli, and a borderline addictive sauce made with rock sugar, vinegar, galangal, garlic and chilies ($20).
This absolute triumph of a dish is khao kluk kapi, rice flavoured with heady shrimp paste in a ring of (clockwise from the top) sausage, crunchy yard long beans, mango, chicken (or pork belly), shallot, paper-thin shards of omelette, lime and diced chilies. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure experience: mix it all together or construct a series of different bites ($20).
Here we have a satisfying Thai-style sukiyaki of glass noodles stir-fried with shrimp, morning glory, mung beans, napa cabbage, Chinese celery and egg in a fermented soy sauce, served with chili sauce on the side ($20).
Misoya started in Chiba, Japan, where its owner ran a miso company and initially used ramen as a vehicle to market his product. Now, Misoya’s miso-based ramen (as opposed to the creamy tonkotsu ramen that’s more common in Toronto) has more than 120 locations in Japan and a handful in North America. This is Misoya’s second store in the city (the other is on Queen West), and besides steaming bowls of customizable ramen, the menu offers tasty sides like gyoza and chicken karaage.
For this meat-forward bowl, Angus beef is slow-cooked for five hours to a perfect medium rare. Hiding underneath are the same fixings Misoya adds to all of its ramen bowls: springy noodles, cabbage, bean sprouts, green onion and shredded red pepper. $25
This is the Miso TanTan Deluxe, which comes with three pieces of tender chashu pork, minced miso pork, nori, egg and some palate-tingling sansho pepper. It all sits in a delectably creamy pork-and-sesame broth ($25.50).
These crispy-chewy spheres are takoyaki, deep-fried octopus balls drenched in tonkatsu sauce and miso mayo and garnished with scallion and bonito flakes ($5.50 for four pieces, $10.50 for eight).
Another favourite from the appetizer menu, these are crispy deep-fried ebi (shrimp) served with shredded cabbage and miso mayo ($12).