What’s on the menu at Savor, a 4,000-square-foot Thai restaurant in Corso Italia with an Iron Chef in the kitchen
Toronto has never seen Thai food like this before
Contact: 1226 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-410-0303, savortoronto.ca, @savorthaito
Neighbourhood: Corso Italia
Owners: Phanom (Patrick) Suksaen (EAT BKK, Koh Lipe, Som Tum Jinda) and Kugandran Perampalan (Thairoom Grand)
Chef: Prasopchok Trakulphat
Accessibility: Fully accessible
While there is no shortage of Thai food in Toronto, the nuanced cuisine is often less than respected by many of the city’s pad thai spots. That’s where Savor comes in. This surprising new gem on St. Clair West treats Thai food with the veneration it deserves—there’s even a golden temple (it doubles as a host stand) and a Thai Iron Chef, Prasopchok Trakulphat (otherwise known as Chef Art), in the kitchen.
And like a Thai temple, the dining experience, which comprises two separate menus, is also tiered. An à la carte menu is built around Chef Art’s take on more traditional Thai dishes, like pad thai, larb and curry. “I don’t want to throw the word authentic around too much,” he says. “We use so many ingredients, and at times substitutes may be a little better to get the proper flavours, but the goal is always for the proper balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet that is crucial in the familiar Thai dishes.” Then there’s Chef Art’s tasting menu, which takes guests on a culinary journey where thrilling yet familiar Thai flavours come from surreal plates that look nothing like your standard bowl of green curry.
A combination of composed classic Thai dishes (like braised short rib and massaman curry) and more modern takes on traditional flavours (like a sous-vide roulade of smoked chicken galangal next to a forest of morels or stuffed peppers served on a bonsai tree). And though the avant-garde tasting experience represents a different side of Chef Art, his passion is equally present in the à la carte menu. The quality of the plates is consistent across the board, so when choosing between the two, consider only this: Is your preference dinner then theatre or dinner as theatre?
Each cocktail on the menu represents one of the nine noppakao, a collection of gems that are said to bring prosperity. Preeminent potables include the Ravishing Ruby, a kind of electrically charged Southeast Asian margarita that gets its beautifully saturated hue from house-made ube syrup, and the Pearly Essence, an umami bomb made with cilantro-and-shallot-infused mezcal, rimmed with sticky rice and served in a bamboo steamer.
The 4,000-square-foot restaurant takes up two floors of what was once a bank. Traditional Thai touches (like the golden temple host stand and the hundreds of imported golden bells that hang from the ceiling) sit confidently within an art deco space featuring beautiful archways, a winding staircase, mosaic flooring and tufted banquette seating.