What’s on the menu at Clio, Charles Khabouth’s new members-only restaurant and lounge on King West

What’s on the menu at Clio, Charles Khabouth’s new members-only restaurant and lounge on King West

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Name: Clio
Contact: 600 King St. W., 416-368-8448, cliotoronto.com, @cliotoronto
Neighbourhood: King West
Owners: Charles Khabouth, Danny Soberano, Fernando Mammoliti and Domenic Oppedisano
Chef: Michael Parubocki
Previously: The Spoke Club
Seating: 90
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

On the fourth floor of this swanky, members-only social club is a full-fledged restaurant with an internationally inspired menu. The guiding theme is elevated but approachable fare: think creamy carbonara wearing a parmesan tuile hat, seared cauliflower with house-made vadouvan oil, and impeccably fried seafood dusted with earthy powdered seaweed. Careful sourcing is a given—the restaurant works closely with 100km Foods. Clio is currently open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Soon to come: Sunday roasts.

For this dish, cauliflower is brined for 24 hours, a process that renders it tender and thoroughly seasoned, before it’s seared on cast-iron and placed on vivid vadouvan and herbed, spiced tahini. It’s topped with crispy shallots, pomegranate seeds, toasted pepitas and mint and parsley leaves. $19.


The fritto misto is a triumph of careful cooking: each piece of scallop, calamari, and shrimp is breaded with pretzel and panko and fried to an optimal state of doneness (there’s not rubbery piece of squid in sight). It’s finished with spicy tomato and chili jam, pickled fennel, jalapeño, miso aïoli, and aonori (dried, powdered seaweed). $22.


Assembling the truffle flatbread.


For the flatbread, 24-hour-fermented dough is topped with truffle bechamel, fior di latte and a mix of mushrooms (roasted shiitakes, oysters, king oysters, creminis). It’s baked and finished with arugula tossed in a truffle vinaigrette, shaved black truffles, rosemary crema and a healthy grating of parmigiano reggiano. $26.


Australian Wagyu beef from the eye of round is rolled in togarashi and lightly seared before being sliced to razor thinness. It’s served with chive oil, enoki mushroom tempura, togarashi-spiced pine nuts, shaved pecorino, pickled shallots and brown-butter brioche bread crumbs. $26.


A stellar version of the ubiquitous Hamachi crudo. The mild, creamy fish does all the talking here, set on a creamy dressing of Japanese sesame paste and rice vinegar. It’s finished with a light yuzu and soy vinaigrette, pickled bosc pear, puffed rice crisps, aonori dust, and what this kitchen calls “sexy scallions” (that is, scallions chopped so thinly they look like fennel fronds). $24.


Putting the finishing touches on the creamy carbonara.


Crisped guanciale and red onion lend earthy richness and sweetness to the ultra-classic favourite. It’s all topped off with a pretty parmesan tuile hat. $24.


Here we have a whole roasted branzino, thoroughly deboned. Charred scallions and fregola sarda pasta cooked with butter and sweet San Marzano tomatoes make up the base of the plate. There’s a sauce of soy, honey, rice vinegars, and chili, a sprinkling of dried capers, crispy garlic, and a sweet roasted lemon for squeezing over the lot. $44.


Chef Michael Parubocki (left) and co-owner Charles Khabouth.
The drinks

There’s a tight menu of playful cocktails ranging from refreshing to bracingly boozy, a 200-label international wine list showcasing traditional and modern varietals, and spirits.

The deep hue of the Desert Rose comes down to butterfly pea powder. Sombra mezcal, Cazadores tequila, Cointreau, yuzu syrup, grapefruit bitters, and scotch bonnet paste make for a smoky, hypnotic blend. It’s rimmed with Tajin and finished with—what else—a rose. $18.


Here we have the Black Swan: Clio’s take on a classic espresso martini. Grey Goose and Jagermeister cold brew make up the base; Patron XO Café and Malagasy chocolate bitters give it depth. $19.


The Tartelette is like grown-up bubblegum in a glass—and we mean that in the best way possible. Rose liqueur and syrup, Kettle One vodka, lemon marrakech bitters and Aperol are finished with grapefruit soda and garnished with a marigold. $18.


The bartender told us that Love Potion no. 3 is a potent aphrodisiac. We’ll reserve judgement on that count, but at the very least, it’s a sweet and tart delight made with passion fruit purée, Bacardi white, St. Germain, lime and hibiscus syrup. It’s all topped off with bubbly prosecco. $18.
The space

The room has the opulence incumbent on an exclusive establishment, paired with sexiness of a speakeasy. Cozy booth and lounge-style seating wraps around a sleek marble bar, tiered chandeliers light up the dining area, and there’s a wall lined with playful pop art and mirrors. It’s elegant, but not in a strait-laced way—plus, there’s a DJ most nights of the week.