Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kultura: Globally Inspired Asian-Fusion Cuisine





Located in one of Toronto’s oldest mercantile buildings on King Street East, in what was once the Wagner Rosenbaum Gallery, the address is now home to the three-storey fashionable Kultura Restaurant. With seating up to 200 in four different rooms, the menu is diverse and eclectic, with global offerings that include everything from Italian to Asian-fusion dishes, seafood, steaks, desserts and an extensive list of exotic cocktails and fine wines. Beautiful to behold, Kultura Restaurant bills itself as a hotspot for 'social dining' with tapas and small plates of exceptional food that take diners on an endlessly inventive and inspired world tour. 




Kultura main floor lounge featured an array of hookahs the night we were there,
apparently the start of their new Hookah Lounge!

Glass enclosed open staircase connects Kultura's 3-storey space



With the aesthetic sensibilities of a well curated gallery, Kultura’s decor is warm and sophisticated with exposed brick and wood beams mingled with luxurious accents exceptionally well thought out across all three floors. The beautiful space, renovated by Bryan Chartier of Core Architects, offers the perfect setting for embarking on newly-appointed executive chef Daniel Racine's new summer menu.



Second floor dining

The 'Grand Room' at the back of the second floor dining area

The cosy 3rd floor dining room for private parties



Seated in the second floor dining room, we began our evening with a round of Martinis and two plates of Edamame in a spicy black bean and miso sauce, and Palak Paneer Naan, stuffed with paneer cheese and spinach, and served with two small bowls of raita and pear chutney. Our cross-cultural culinary adventure continued with Ahi Tuna Cornets, diced raw tuna in an edible nori shell with chilled avocado and garnished red miso flakes and "vegetable whispers", Beef Carpaccio with AAA beef tenderloin, mushroom mousse, shaved parmigiano reggiano and truffle oil topped with a tempura oyster mushroom, and Fresh Figs with roasted fennel, apples, prosciutto di Parma, caramelized pecans and a ginger scented apple purée.



The perfect start to any special evening, an ice cold Gin Martini

Warm young edamame in a spicy black bean and miso sauce with smoked Sicilian sea salt

'Palak Paneer Naan' with spinach and paneer, served with cucumber mint raita and chutney

Gris de Gris Rosé

'Ahi Tuna Cornets' in an edible nori shell, with chilled avocado and red miso flakes

'Beef Carpaccio' with AAA beef tenderloin, mushroom mousse, shaved parmigiano reggiano 
and truffle oil topped with a tempura oyster mushroom 

Figs with roasted fennel, apples, prosciutto di Parma, caramelized pecans and 
a ginger scented apple purée



Chef Racine's new summer menu also featured Crunchy Asian Salad with napa cabbage, more "vegetable whispers", toasted peanuts with a side of Asian chicken skewers. In addition to small plates and tapas-style starters, Kultura also offers about ten main dishes from Lavender Duck Breast, Korean Miami Ribs, French Chicken and Provimi Veal Chop to Pearl Barley Risotto, Mushroom Orecchiette and Angel Hair Seafood Pasta with Digby scallops, black tiger shrimps, grilled calamari, lobster and mussels in tomato sauce. 




'Crunchy Asian Salad' with napa cabbage, vegetable whispers, toasted peanuts 
and finished with Asian chicken skewers



Our table ordered the French Chicken with smoked bacon, sweet peas, tarragon and baby onion confit in heavy cream with a crown of puff pastry, and Crisp Arctic Char that was designed to be served in a saffron fennel scented citrus broth with P.E.I. mussels, but was customized by Chef Racine to avoid a shellfish allergy of one of the guests at our table, and modified with a Mediterranean-style sauce of tomatoes, feta and black olives.



'Crisp Arctic Char' that was supposed to be in a saffron fennel scented citrus broth with P.E. I mussels, but was specially adapted by Chef Racine to avoid a shellfish allergy, and modified with a Mediterranean-style sauce of tomatoes, feta and black olives

'French Chicken' with smoked bacon, sweet peas, tarragon and baby onion confit 
in heavy cream with a crown of puff pastry



A lovely touch at the end of our meal, a plate of Doughnut Holes served with Bailey’s Crème Anglaise arrived as a special birthday treat for our table, compliments of Chef Racine. Warm, fresh and lightly sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the doughnuts were delicious. Although the main floor of Kultura was fully booked with a private party, we were the only table seated on the second floor until another table arrived just as were were having dessert. With the size of the space, I only hope Kultura has enough devotées to ensure this hip local neighbourhood treasure is around for a long time.



A Birthday treat, compliments of Chef Racine - 'Doughnut Holes' with Bailey’s Crème Anglaise

Executive Chef Daniel Racine