What’s on the menu at Miss Likklemore’s, a fancy new Caribbean kitchen on King West with a rum list 100 bottles long

What’s on the menu at Miss Likklemore’s, a fancy new Caribbean kitchen on King West with a rum list 100 bottles long

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Name: Miss Likklemore’s
Contact info: 433 King St. W., 647-484-8789, misslikklemores.com, @misslikklemores
Neighbourhood: King West
Owners: Hanif Harji (Scale Hospitality), Lonie Murdock, Darren Hinds
Chef: Lonie Murdock
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

Miss Likklemore’s is the fruit of a fortuitous meeting back in 2020, when Lonie Murdock and Darren Hinds (The Good Son) invited Scale Hospitality’s Hanif Harji to sample Caribbean cuisine at their hugely popular Queen West pop-up.

Drawing on her Jamaican roots, Murdock served up tender house-made patties, macaroni pie and a delicately spiced carrot cake (made using Hinds’s mother’s recipe) among other delectable hits. The food made a serious impression on Harji, and the trio embarked on a partnership that would eventually bring Miss Likklemore’s to its new King West home.

“It’s so cool to see people order oysters and a bottle of wine before tucking into some jerk chicken,” says Murdock. (Those oysters, by the way, are served with mango mignonette, calamansi and house hot sauce.) “The partnership has given us the platform to highlight beautiful Caribbean dishes in an upscale fashion. Guests who’ve never tried Caribbean food love it—and so do those who cook it at home every day.”

Hinds (left) and Murdock, partners in business and life
The food

Murdock teamed up with Scale’s corporate executive head chef, Ted Corrado, to design the menu. The duo drew on their respective strengths—Murdock’s intimate knowledge of Caribbean flavours, Corrado’s fine-dining flare—to design playful dishes that would retain the integrity of their roots.

Take the fried Madai snapper, a Jamaican classic that would normally be served scattered with escovitch, a bright medley of peppers, carrots and onions. Murdock’s version—in which fried, filleted chunks of fish are placed gingerly back on the bones for a head-on presentation—comes with the escovitch on the side, along with a wildly delicious citrus relish.

There’s a delicate balancing act going on here—the food is refined but not precious. In the kitchen, Murdock plays with flavours she knows well, spinning them into delightful new forms without compromising their soul.

House-made patties are filled with a mix of oxtail and lean ground beef. Spiced with a hint of curry, cloves and allspice, they’re topped with a dollop of tangy red scallion mignonette and served with house-fermented mango hot sauce. $16
Twenty-two ingredients make up the crunchy, complex Nuff Nuff Slaw. Among them are jicama, kohlrabi, fermented cabbage, compressed pear and green mango. It’s dressed with a sunny papaya-pineapple vinaigrette and finished with edible flowers, fried taro, crushed peanuts and cilantro. $21
“You can’t go to a Trini function without eating mac pie,” says Murdock. A hefty wedge—laced with bell pepper, red onion and scotch bonnet—is served on an oozy béchamel cream sauce made with cheddar, gouda, smoked mozzarella and Monterey Jack. $19
The Crab XO pairs Carolina gold rice, cooked in crab stock, with coconut cream, toasted coconut and delicate crab meat. The XO component is a vivid sauce made with a combination of scotch bonnet and Jamaican hot peppers. It’s served with cilantro, pickled onion, crispy shallots and of course, meaty crab legs. $65
This jerk chicken was the subject of what Miss Likklemore’s team affectionately calls the “Great Jerk Chicken Debate of 2022.” It’s a take on Murdock’s grandmother’s recipe, but getting the spice mix exactly the way the team wanted it took not one, not 10, but more than 20 tries. A bunch of freshly ground spices and—Murdock emphasized this—only scotch bonnets, as far as peppers go, make up the final recipe. Its spice level is mild to moderate, but it comes with a fiery jus, so it’s a choose-your-own-adventure chicken. A bundle of thyme is ignited tableside for aroma, flare and fun. $65
A hefty 17-ounce ribeye is cooked to a perfect medium-rare and served with heady green peppercorn tamarind jus and chadon beni (culantro) chimichurri. Does anything scream confidence louder than a minimally adorned slab of meat? $85
Normally, Jamaican red snapper is topped with a scattering of escovitch (a colourful combo of pepper, carrot and onion). Here, the escovitch is nestled up next to the fish alongside an herbaceous citrus relish of lime, mint, cilantro and onion. Japanese Madai, technically a type of sea bream, subs in for the standard red snapper. The tender fish is filleted and coated in a mix of potato starch, flour and a secret spice blend before being fried to crispy perfection. $110
A mini version of this carrot cake—a recipe courtesy of Hinds’s mother, Miss Paula—was on the menu at the Queen West pop-up. Carrot-crazed customers promptly demanded a full-sized version, which has made its way onto this menu. The formula is a closely guarded secret, but it’s safe to say warming spices and pineapple are involved. It’s topped with cream cheese frosting, candied ginger, walnut crumble and edible petals. $18
The drinks

The restaurant boasts one of the most comprehensive rum collections this side of the Caribbean Sea. The menu of more than 100 labels (and counting) is a veritable world tour of the sugarcane-based spirit. There’s a Caribbean focus, of course, but other bottles hail from Fiji, Denmark and India, to name a few.

Classic cocktails are infused with Caribbean flavours, like the Sweet Ting, a play on a cosmopolitan that subs watermelon juice for the standard cranberry. A tight beer menu features heavy hitters like Jamaica’s Red Stripe and Dragon Stout. The wine list was curated to complement the menu’s bright, bold flavours and includes a selection of crisp, refreshing whites and elegant, structured reds.

“Every Caribbean island has its own take on punch,” says Hinds. “This drink is the result of a Jamaican, a Trinidadian, and a Bajan trying to come to a compromise.” Bacardi spiced rum, Angostura bitters, agave, lemon, lime and nutmeg make up this fruity, spirit-forward tipple. $17
Likklemore’s Punch (left) nestled up to an Island Frank—which is what Murdock affectionately dubbed the normally calm Hinds after a rum-soaked trip to the Caribbean brought out his decidedly louder side. It’s a layered blend of Ting and Bombay Bramble (blackberry and raspberry) gin. $16
In the centre, we have the Boasty. With muddled mint, lemon and cane sugar, it hits some mojito notes, but a brilliant combo of Mount Gay Eclipse rum and green chartreuse takes it in a decidedly smooth, spirit-forward direction. $18
The space

When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant portrait of Miss Edna, Lonie’s grandmother and greatest inspiration. (An adaptation of her jerk chicken recipe is one of the menu’s early favourites.) There’s an island feel with minimal kitsch: think premium textured finishes, wood accents, and pops of colour and greenery. It’s a welcoming taste of the tropics to offset the reality of Canadian fall.

Miss Edna, Lonie’s grandmother and culinary hero, watches over the restaurant’s foyer