What’s on the menu at Trapézi, a new private-dining experience from the Mamakas Food Group
Just in time for holiday party planning
Contact: 88 Ossington Ave., 2nd floor, mamakas.ca, @trapezi_bymamakas
Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Owners: Thanos Tripi (Mamakas Food Group)
Chef: Benny Chateau
Accessibility: Up a flight of stairs
Thanos Tripi, owner of Mamakas, Bar Koukla, Agora and Souvla, is a man bent on building a Greek empire in Toronto. His newest addition is Trapézi, a warm and intimate private-dining space that takes up the floor above Koukla. Opening just in time for the holiday season, Trapézi is a thoughtfully designed, 1,000-square-foot room exuding the kind of informal elegance that strikes a balance between relaxed living and fine dining. “My mandate was to create a space that would feel like someone’s home,” says Tripi. “This is the result.”
The menu—comprising Koukla’s and Mamakas’s greatest hits—is selected by the host in advance of the meal and is based on a price-per-head model. “The cost of shutting down Mamakas for a 28-person dinner was really prohibitive,” says Tripi, “so this space offers a great solution.” The menu starts at $100 per person and goes up from there.
And while Tripi has committed himself to building a community that respects the beauty of Aegean cuisine, with this new Ossington restaurant he is equally passionate about providing his customers with a bespoke experience. “We’re not beholden to the confines of the existing restaurants,” he says. “We have a dedicated kitchen that can do anything a customer wants. If there’s a request to have a whole animal on the table, we’ll do it.” In addition to private dining, Tripi plans to use the space for monthly ticketed events that will include pairing dinners with Greek winemakers and pop-up evenings with rotating chefs.
Benny Chateau, director of kitchen operations for the Mamakas Food Group, turns out handsome but unfussy servings (both small and large) of classic Aegean dishes, paying respect to traditional flavours through a modern lens. “In Greece, they serve their meat well done. Here, we don’t,” says Tripi. Still, at Trapézi, accommodation is key, and the extensive lunch, brunch, dinner and canapés menus speak to this edict. All the seasonal bests from his other restaurants—like their inimitable dips, the sweet and salty saganaki and perfectly done lamb chops—join other crowd-pleasing dishes like kokkinisto (braised short rib served on celeriac purée with roasted winter vegetables) and tonos (smoked yellowfin tuna with brown butter, apple, lemon and hazelnut oil).
An exclusively Greek wine list with bottles starting at $70 is coupled with a cocktail card comprising bar manager Mike Lamantia’s Aegean spins on the classics. The Trapézi Negroni, for instance, is a savoury blend of basil-infused gin, blistered-tomato vermouth and a touch of sweet balsamic vinegar from Greece. And the 3:1 Martini is an offbeat and slightly brackish (in a good way) combination of gin or vodka, dry vermouth, lacto-fermented grapes and smoked capers.
A discreet side-door entrance takes guests up a stairwell, through another door and into an intimate yet spacious room that’s both stylish and snug—the kind of place where diners can appreciate their surroundings without feeling alienated. A long modular wooden table sits in the centre of the room, casually set with turned candlesticks, folded cloth napkins, brass cutlery and fresh flower by Jackie O. Warm walnut cabinets hold bottles of wine, a bay-window bench offers a view of buzzy Ossington and custom fixtures from Milke Bau keep the lighting moody. In short, it’s the kind of place to catch up with friends while enjoying some truly spectacular Greek classics.