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Food & Drink

Review: Little Portugal’s Hanmoto maintains a healthy disregard for dieters, as the best izakayas do

Review: Little Portugal's Hanmoto maintains a healthy disregard for dieters, as the best izakayas do
(Image: Dave Gillespie)

Hanmoto ★★★ 2 Lakeview Ave.

Leemo Han’s secretive Dundas West izakaya bears the trademark junk-shop look he and brother Leeto established at downtown’s (now shuttered) Swish by Han and Ossington snack-food spot Oddseoul. The food is meant for snacking and sharing, with nothing costing more than $18 (for six oysters dressed with ponzu and pickled chilies). As at the best izakayas, the chef maintains a healthy disregard for dieters. Prime example: a sandwich of roasted, super-fatty pork belly, coated in soy remoulade, barely contained by a coco bun. Everyone raves about the Dyno Wings, which are stuffed with spicy pork and rice, deep-fried and served in a takeout box. Even more impressive are a tartare of fantastically fresh hamachi and the nasu dengaku—Japanese eggplant charred until the flesh is creamy, the length of it covered in a crunchy, burgundy fuzz of finely shredded deep-fried beets. (The only letdown is the salmon face—Leemo’s stunt-plate equivalent of the pig face that appeared not long ago on hipster charcuterie menus.) The drinks list is short but thoughtful: Asahi on tap, quality sake, and cocktails made with shiso leaf, kaffir lime–infused vodka and Asian pear.

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