I've written before about my love of Izakaya and Dim Sum so it's probably no surprise that I'd been dying to try DaiLo, the latest hotspot for Asian fusion, since it opened a few months ago. I'd heard good reports from my foodie friends and I'm happy to say that the dinner did not disappoint. DaiLo offers Chef Nick Liu's contemporary take on traditional Chinese cuisine, and the result is a series of truly unique dishes featuring creative combinations of flavour. Like most of Toronto's newer restaurants, DaiLo has embraced the tapas-style dining trend so you can share and sample as much food as you can handle. Now, without further delay, let's dig in!
I was immediately impressed with the decor. Somehow it manages to be simple, traditional, and trendy all at the same time.
We started with open-faced octopus rolls: Liu's take on Asian-taco-fusion. I'm a big fan of octopus, and this crispy version with fresh garnish and slightly spicy mayo was the perfect start to the meal.
Pumpkin dumplings with white rabbit glaze, garnished with truffles. The words "pumpkin dumplings" definitely sum up the east-meets-west fusion that DaiLo strives for. Between the aromatically seasoned pumpkin and the woodsy truffles this is a great appetizer for cold weather and reminds me of sweet autumn days.
Because this Torontonian still can't resist a taco, we rounded off our appetizers with roast duck and scallion tacos. These crispy shells are stuffed with peking duck jam and picked asian pear.
Next came the beef carpaccio swimming in a sweet yuzu soy caramel sauce and garnished with chilies, crispy fried garlic, cilantro, and truffled dwarf peaches. Truffled dwarf peaches are a type of pickle made from unripe peaches and add a nice bit of salty acidity to balance out the sweet sauce in this dish.
Black truffle fried rice with edamame, puffed rice, and a spicy homemade XO sauce. Since most of the dishes we ordered are pretty small, this was a great side to compliment them and add a little more substance to our meal. The menu features a few bigger dishes like whole fried trout, but since we were only two people we figured we'd save the bigger stuff for a bigger group.
Lastly, we ordered one of the day's featured specials: steamed mussels in coconut broth with asian sausage slices, garnished with cilantro and crispy taro sticks. This Thai-inspired plate was a big hit at our table and made me wonder why I don't eat mussels more often. You know a meal is a winner when it has you dreaming up ways to create something similar at home.
DaiLo is definitely one of the more unique restaurants I've been to in this city. I've never encountered anything quite like the inventive combinations of flavours and ingredients on this menu. I definitely recommend you give it a try with your most adventurous, food-loving friends.
To make a reservation or check out their full menu, visit their website.
03.17.15 Update: This post is now featured in the link-up "Tell Me About Your Town". Click the button below to meet some new bloggers and discover their favourite restaurants.