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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown’s new place for Hangzhou-style dishes

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes

Name: Green Tea Contact: 261 Spadina Ave., 416-519-1073, @greenteacanada
Neighbourhood: Chinatown Previously: Dim Sum Plus Owner: Celine Zhang

The food

“I think we’re the first restaurant to bring real Southern Chinese food to Toronto,” says Celine Zhang, who also co-owns Canada’s only other Green Tea franchise, located in Markham (there are 80 locations in China, however). Green Tea is part of the new crop of mainland Chinese chains that have set their expansion sights on the Canadian market. It specializes in Hangzhou-style food, which is known for its ingredient-forward dishes that aren’t overly spicy or greasy: it’s a fresh, light cuisine. “A lot of the dishes are a little sweet, too,” says Zhang. “We add sugar to almost everything to bring out the flavour.”

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
This barbecued pork belly is marinated for six hours in a blend of Chinese five spice, soy sauce, hoisin and among another dozen or so herbs and spices the chefs refused to divulge. $17.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
Here’s a plate of quail eggs, dongpo pork and fresh abalone. The abalone is cooked for over three hours in a chicken-duck-pork bone soup, while the dongpo pork (a Hangzhou classic) is a fatty cut of skin-on pork belly that’s boiled twice, browned, then braised in a sugar-soy-wine sauce before being steamed. $37.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
The barbecued chicken arrives on a sizzling grill with three sauces: pumpkin, chili-salt and sweet chili. $19.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
This delicate soup is a traditional winter dish in Hangzhou. The broth might be light, but this soup is heavy: the bowl is packed with chicken, shrimp, fried pig skin, bamboo roots, pork belly, pork meatballs and bok choi. $28.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
One of the few fusion dishes that was created specifically for Green Tea’s downtown location is this curry chicken pot pie topped with a butter pastry. An order takes 30 minutes to prepare because the pastry is made in-house. $23.

 

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What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
Here’s a look inside.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
Co-owner Celine Zhang.

 

The drinks

Despite being called Green Tea Restaurant, the focus here is on the fresh-made juices, which include watermelon and pear, along with blends popular in China like cogongrass root and sugar cane. The one tea on offer is longjing, a pan-roasted green tea from Hangzhou.

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
Here’s the tea.

 

The space

Zhang took what was previously a bare-bones dim sum place and brought it to life with Southern Chinese–inspired décor, decorative blonde wood and wall murals depicting traditional buildings commonly found in Zhejiang province. “I wanted the space to feel young so it would appeal to students and young professionals,” says Zhang, who says their Markham location abides by a more traditional Chinese aesthetic, which she thinks is a bit dark and heavy.

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What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
Here’s the main-level dining room.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
The second level can be turned into a private dining room for groups of 10 or more. There’s a special round table that gets wheeled in.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes
These linen lanterns were brought over from China.

 

What's on the menu at Green Tea, Chinatown's new place for Hangzhou-style dishes

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