What’s on the menu at the Rosebud, a new wine bar in Corktown

What’s on the menu at the Rosebud, a new wine bar in Corktown

It’s from the team behind Mira Mira Diner

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Name: The Rosebud
Contact: 498 King St. E., rosebudto.com, @rosebudto
Neighbourhood: Corktown
Owners: Amira Becarevic and Justin Cheung
Executive chef: Jeffrey Yap
Accessibility: Not fully accessible
This is the newest project from the husband-and-wife team behind Mira Mira, the Beaches diner that specializes in nostalgic dishes with creative twists. The Rosebud is decidedly more refined but just as warm and charming as its sister spot. “Justin and I both come from fine-dining backgrounds,” says Becarevic. “So something like this was always in the back of our minds.”

The Rosebud's executive chef Jeffrey Yap, GM Teandra Tuhkunen, sous chef Shuai Song and co-owner Justin Cheung
Left to right: executive chef Jeffrey Yap, GM Teandra Tuhkunen, sous chef Shuai Song, and co-owner Justin Cheung

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The couple had their eye on this location for at least a decade—the small, one-room space was perfect for the intimate wine bar they envisioned. It used to house the Kingsbrae—also a diner—but had sat empty for the past 15 years. There’s been a lot of action in the area lately, with the openings of Gusto 501, Spaccio East and other Corktown gems. With the neighbourhood’s forward momentum, Becarevic and Cheung saw an opportunity to realize their dream project.

One of the many things to do when it came to revitalizing this abandoned building was choosing a name for the new restaurant. It just so happened that, when they were mulling over the name “Rosebud,” they came across an old photo of national treasure Eugene Levy inside the Kingsbrae (it was taken during the filming of The Man in 2005). And, as any Schitt’s Creek fan would know, the Rosebud is the name Levy’s character, Johnny Rose, gives the motel he reluctantly takes over. The stars aligned, and Toronto’s own Rosebud was born.

The exterior of The Rosebud, a new wine bar in space once occupied by The Kingsbrae Diner

A spread of food at The Rosebud, a wine bar in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood

The food

French classics with modern twists and the occasional Asian and Mediterranean influence. There’s luxurious duck confit served with savoury crêpes and orange relish, a daikon-forward take on the traditionally chickpea-based panisse, and house-made tagliatelle in an uni-infused beurre blanc. It’s a tight menu that will rotate roughly every month, according to seasonality and supply. And—in a refreshing departure from the “small plates” trend—many of the dishes at this wine bar make for perfectly adequate dinner portions, so there’s no need to cobble together a meal.

Shrimp cocktail with salmorejo, an Andalusian cold soup, for dunking
In a playful rendition of the classic shrimp cocktail, jumbo shrimp come with salmorejo—an Andalusian cold soup similar to gazpacho, with tomato, garlic, bread and vinegar. Here, it’s on the thicker side for optimal dipping texture. Topped with chive, fresh grated horseradish, and toasted coconut. $24


Poached leeks are seared, anointed with dollops of house-made créme fraiche and triple crunch mustard, and drizzled with vinaigrette made of red rice vinegar
For this delectable take on the bistro staple poireaux vinaigrette, poached leeks are seared, anointed with dollops of house-made crème fraîche and triple crunch mustard, and drizzled with a vinaigrette made of red rice vinegar. $16


Daikon radish panisse in a pool of black bean chili oil and creamy cauliflower purée
Traditionally, panisse is made with chickpeas. Chef Yap instead takes inspiration from the turnip cakes you might get at Chinese dim sum, making his tender panisse with daikon radish. It’s set in a pool of house-made black bean chili oil and topped with creamy cauliflower purée, shaved truffles and chives. $17


Pan-roasted sea bass
Here we have pan-roasted sea bass served with a blended take on sauce Veronique, a cream, tarragon and vermouth sauce usually served with dover sole. It’s served with thinly sliced red grapes, Swiss chard and preserved lemon and finished with chives and tarragon-infused oil. $29
Chef Yap of The Rosebud puts the finishing touches on a plate of pasta
Pork and charred scallions on a cooling rack
House-made tagliatelle in an uni-infused beurre blanc and topped with salmon roe
A tangle of house-made tagliatelle laced with BC uni-infused beurre blanc. The beurre blanc gets put through an aerating food whipper—like whipped cream—lending the rich sauce an ethereal texture that envelops every pasta strand. It’s finished with mild espelette pepper, orange powder, chives and little jewels of trout roe. $32


Iberico pork secreto, served with charred scallions and a lechon jus
This is Iberico pork secreto, a relatively uncommon, well-marbled cut between the side and shoulder. It’s piled with charred scallions and finished with a sweet-and-sour pork liver–based lechon jus—a take on the classic Filipino sauce that might traditionally come with crispy pork. $36


The Rosebud's dark chocolate parfait
Dessert is this dark chocolate parfait. Devil’s food cake is topped with amaro-infused chocolate mousse and dotted with lemon gelée, which cuts the richness of the cake. On top: a sprinkle of chocolate crumb and flaky Maldon salt. Think a dialled-up Deep’n Delicious. $16
The drinks

The wine list, which includes a rotating by-the-glass menu, strikes a nice balance between old-world classics and vibrant new producers and will change on a regular basis to keep pace with the food. Between delicate Loire Valley rosé, bold Spanish Mencia and bright Venetian Soave, there’s something for everyone on the list. There’s also a selection of digestifs and a tight cocktail list, which includes a trio of martinis.

A trio of martinis at the Rosebud, a Toronto wine bar
Here we have a glorious trio of gin martinis. Left to right: the Phantom of the Martinez, with sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, bitters and pastis; the Rosé All Day, with rosé vermouth and lavender; and the Martini de Provence, with herbs de provence–infused dry vermouth, herb oil and a lemon twist. $14 each


The Left Bank cocktail at The Rosebud, a Toronto wine bar
This is the Left Bank, a floral blend of dry gin and vermouth, white wine, and elderflower liqueur. $17


The Autumn Affair cocktail at The Rosebud, a wine bar in Toronto's Corktown
An Autumn Affair—a blend of gold rum, lime bitters and a house-made cinnamon-allspice syrup—is garnished with fancy apple plumage. $15


The makings of La Vie Spritz, a Lillet Blanc–based cocktail
The refreshing La Vie Spritz, with Lillet Blanc, lemon and yuzu soda. $14

The Rosebud's general manager Teandra Tuhkunen mixes up a cocktail

The space

Designed by former Mira Mira catering client Dart Studio, it’s a cozy, elegant room with blush suede furnishings, hardwood walnut finishes and soft (read: flattering) lighting. There’s a small open kitchen and colourful, whimsical art by illustrator Jules Monson on the walls. In honour of the building’s heritage, the black-and-white tiles are replicas of the original flooring, and a vintage fridge found in the space was lovingly restored and put on display.

The door leading into The Rosebud, a new wine bar in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood

A booth by a street-facing window at The Rosebud, a Corktown diner

A cozy booth inside The Rosebud, a new Toronto wine bar

The dining room at The Rosebud, a Toronto wine bar

Chefs at work in the kitchen at The Rosebud, a Toronto wine bar