What’s on the menu at Silent H, a new Mexican restaurant on King West with a tequila lounge and scorpion-garnished cocktails
Edible, mezcal-infused scorpions, of course
Name: Silent H
Contact: 461 King St. W., 416-900-3535, silenth.ca, @silenth.to
Neighbourhood: King West
Previously: Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!
Owners: Patrick Marzouk and Nader Marzouk
Chef: Gerardo Álvarez Saucedo
Accessibility: Not fully accessible (the washroom is in the basement, down a flight of stairs)
In 2022, brothers Patrick and Nader Marzouk had an idea to open a high-end Mexican restaurant downtown. They envisioned an establishment that would stand out from the conventional Mexican culinary scene in Canada, which seemed dominated by taquerias, food trucks and Chipotle-style takeout counters. There was just one problem: they didn’t have a chef.
So they put the call out to their network, and one of their friends soon connected them with the best Mexican chef he knew: Gerardo Álvarez Saucedo, a 29-year-old culinary specialist from Monterrey. Although he lacked a restaurant, Saucedo maintained a repertoire of recipes, stored in his phone notes and inspired by years of family cook-offs between his six aunts. The Marzouks reached out with their business idea and asked Saucedo to share his recipes with them. A quick copy and paste later, they flew him to Canada, and they were so impressed with his cooking that they hired him as head chef. Two months after that, Silent H opened to the public.
The menu of shareable plates features aguachile, tender rib-eye skewers, tuna tostadas, carnitas-filled flautas and Saucedo’s take on a whole grilled Cornish hen—but don’t expect to find a single food-truck-variety churro. “This isn’t American Mexican,” said Saucedo. “We’re here to give you the real experience.”
There’s a short list of macro beers (Corona, Modelo, Stella, Michelob, Mill Street) and a surprisingly long wine list that includes a dozen by-the-glass options and a $1,000 bottle of champagne. The cocktails, conceived by Toronto mixologist Spencer Gooderham, include 15 signature creations and a house shot. Here are three of his most popular concoctions.
Golden arches lead to a moody booth-filled dining room on the main floor with a bar and live music. Downstairs is Aitch—the restaurant’s not-so-secret speakeasy and tequila lounge—where guests can enjoy another drink and some dancing. Outside, there are front and side terraces. “The idea is for customers to spend an entire evening with us,” says Nader, “from the appetizer to the late-night snack.”