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What’s on the menu at Trapézi, a new private-dining experience from the Mamakas Food Group

Just in time for holiday party planning

By Erin Hershberg| Photography by Ashley van der Laan
What's on the menu at Trapézi, a new private-dining experience from the Mamakas Food Group

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Name: Trapézi 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.”

Mamakas Food Group's Thanos Tripi
Mamakas Food Group owner and operator Thanos Tripi

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.

A set table at Trapézi, a new private-dining experience from the Mamakas Food Group
Photo by Ashley van der Laan
The food

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).

Trapézi's horiatiki salad
Chateau begins this classic horiatiki salad with heirloom tomatoes that, when out of season, he orders by the case. Thinly sliced cucumbers and green onions are piled on top and anointed with a big chunk of Greek-imported grass-fed sheep’s milk feta. The salad is drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with oregano and green onions and topped with house-made Kalamata olive tapenade. The result is equal parts tangy, briny and creamy, with just a hint of funk

 

Spanakopita at Trapézi, a new Greek restaurant in Toronto
The traditional northern Greek spanakopita is made from imported filo pastry and stuffed with spinach and local cow’s milk feta. The flaky pie is then shaped into a spiral or strifti. It’s finished with a drizzle of imported Greek wildflower honey and sprinkled with Maldon salt and chives

 

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A plate of grilled octopus at Trapézi, a Greek restaurant in Toronto
The oktapódi is first braised for 90 minutes using a bit of red wine vinegar to tenderize and flavour the meat before it’s chopped up and grilled. It’s then seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed in a ladolemono dressing of mustard, lemon, garlic and olive oil. It’s plated atop a rich and earthy Greek fava, a split pea purée. The dish is finished with pickled onions, caper leaves, caper berries and Maldon salt

 

Trapézi's lavráki, an imported Aegean sea bass seasoned with olive oil and salt, gutted and grilled whole
Here we have the lavráki, an imported Aegean sea bass seasoned with olive oil and salt, gutted, grilled whole, then deboned. The dish is finished with a drizzle of olive oil, Maldon salt, capers two ways (leaves and berries), fresh parsley and lemon

 

A plate of grilled lamb chops at Trapézi, a private dining room above Koukla on Ossinton Avenue
The rustic Ontario-raised lamb chops, or païdákia, are seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled to the point of charring. They’re served perfectly pink on house-made tzatziki, bright and crunchy tabbouleh and ladolemono

 

The drinks

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.

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Trapézi's Greek twist on an old fashioned cocktail
The old fashioned is a balanced take on the stiff standard. Batched and aged for two weeks in beeswax-coated bottles for proper mouthfeel, the drink is a blend of Lot 40 Rye, Four Roses bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, samos wine syrup, honey, patchouli-and-sarsaparilla-spiced cherry cordial, pickled plum, orange and black-walnut bitters, and salt. It’s served with an oversized ice cube and garnished with an Amarena cherry

 

The Olive Oil Margarita at Trapézi in Toronto
The Olive Oil Margarita is an Aegean twist on the classic. Tequila, curaçao, lemon and lime are shaken with salted olive oil syrup and a bit of olive brine and poured over ice. The drink is finished with orange zest and a marinated green olive. $19

 

Trapézi's Mythos cocktail, a Greek take on the espresso martini
The Mythos is a revisionist espresso martini. It’s a mix of vodka, Kahlúa, amaretto, Greek mountain tea, vanilla, Amaro Lucano, a bit of salt and a house-made lactic espresso cordial (a whole-bean infusion in sweetened coconut water). It’s served in a coupe and finished with fresh grapefruit oil. $18
The space

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.

Stairs leading up to Trapézi, a new private-dining experience on Ossington Avenue in Toronto
The dining room of Trapézi, a private-dining experience above Koukla on Ossington Avenue
A table set with fresh flowers inside Trapézi, the new private-dining experience from the team behind Mamakas and Koukla
A set table inside the dining room at Trapézi, a new restaurant from Toronto's Mamakas Food Group
Lush carpets cover the floor of Trapézi's dining room
The bar at Toronto's Trapézi, a private-dining experience with a Greek menu
The sign outside of Trapézi, a new private-dining experience on Ossington Avenue in Toronto
Photo courtesy of Mamakas Food Group

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