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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns

Name: Hot Bunzz Contact: 170 Spadina Ave., hotbunzz.com, @HotBunzzTO
Neighbourhood: Queen West Previously: Bacon Nation Chef and owner: Mark Oliver

The food

Oliver got his start at The Underground Market, a food-based pop-up that gave restaurants including La Carnita and Seven Lives their start. His hankering for street eats has taken him around the world, from Ecuador to Taiwan. The menu at Hot Bunzz is equally peripatetic. The bao are filled with flavours from near (like the Spadina BBQ Duck number) and far (flavours from Morocco, Texas and Korea all make cameos).

The menu is divided between two styles of bao: “sexxy” and “street” bunzz. The former involve brioche buns stuffed to bursting with fancy fillings—there’s even a surf-and-turf one that involves braised beef short ribs and lobster. The slightly more humble “street bunzz” are baked with the filling already inside (like a grown-up Hot Pocket), but then gussied with aïoli and something crunchy.

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
This “street” bun is stuffed with pulled kalbi (braised short ribs) and caramelized onions. It’s topped with roasted garlic aïoli, sesame sauce, kimchi purée and fried onions. $4.50.

 

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
This one’s full of a falafel mix, feta cheese and hummus. It’s finished with toasted garlic aïoli and tahini sauce. $4.50.

 

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
This bun is full of barbecued duck tossed in hoisin sauce, snow pea greens and cucumber. It’s topped with orange fennel slaw, cilantro, lemon aïoli and duck crackling. $9.50.

 

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
This one’s stuffed with pulled harissa chicken thighs, ginger, greek yogurt and chickpeas. It’s topped with a Mediterranean slaw and mint yogurt. $8.50.

 

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
This bun’s stuffed with pulled pork that’s been marinated in mojo. It’s topped off with shrimp ceviche and lime aïoli. $8.50.

 

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What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
A trio of bunzz.

 

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
A side of Panko-crusted cauliflower comes drizzled with a spicy parmesan sauce. $4.

 

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
Vietnamese-style lemongrass pork balls on a stick are served with a mint-chili-tamarind dip. $4.
The drinks

Just the usual, non-alcoholic suspects to go with the bunzz: pop, juice, water.

The space

Previous tenants have kept this no-frills, 13-seat room pretty bare since the building’s had an expiry date on it for the past five years (it was slated to be turned into condos). Now that the developer has been shot down for a third time, there’s no telling how long Hot Bunzz will get to stay.

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns
Here’s the menu.

 

What's on the menu at Hot Bunzz, a Queen West counter dedicated to stuffed buns

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