A new restaurant recently opened on the ground floor of The Slate, by Sonder, just steps away from the Princess of Wales theater in the heart of downtown Toronto's vibrant Entertainment District, is really speaking our language.
Created by Bar Buca alum chef Francis Bermejo, Mother Tongue pulls its culinary inspo from the Philippines, China and Japan, as well as North America. The menu, featuring perfect-for-sharing plates of duck dumplings, whole fried sea bass with tumeric curry, Szechuan egglant, Hong Kong-style calamari and more, eloquently relates its head chef's straightforward mantra: use the best local ingredients as simply as possible and serve them with flourish and joy.
"The backbone [is] Filipino cuisine ... my roots," Bermejo says. "Filipino cuisine has many layers and influences: Spanish, Malay, Indigenous, Chinese, North American even Korean. The focus is also to share my experience with food growing up here in Toronto, which is very diverse. My interpretation of this cuisine would be 'Torontonian cuisine'. In a sense that we are proud of our heritage, our background, and the joy it brings to share that same appreciation with the people around us. Mainly Filipino and Asian flavour profiles, but that does not limit us from honouring other cuisines that I strongly appreciate and believe in. Essentially It’s the food we love to eat from all of the different communities here in Toronto executed at the highest level."
Open daily from 5 p.m., Mother Tongue is perfect for a quick snack, a lingering meal, a family night out or a large social gathering. Don't miss the speakeasy-esque hidden cocktail bar, modelled after the jeepneys of the Philippines with a padded roof, mirrors and metal rails, which serves some of the city’s best precision-made cocktails—we recommend the transportive Manila with Crown royal, Dolin Rouge, Cointreau, Angostura bitters and canola, or a tropical Jungle Fruit mocktail of Seedlip spice, pineapple shrub and fizz. —Vita Daily
Mother Tongue, 348 Adelaide St. W., Toronto, 647-243-5858, mothertongue.ca