SoSo Food Club is a hot pink paradise
Though it jokes about mediocrity in its name, the food at this restaurant is high quality
It may have a tongue-in-cheek name, but SoSo Food Club is anything but mediocre. The new 80-seat restaurant is steps from Ossington and Dundas. The space is awash in vibrant colours, with plush bubblegum pink accents, neon electric lights and turquoise walls.
XO Lobster Mapo Tofu ($32) is a whistle of a looker; hunks of tender Nova Scotia Lobster flesh are tossed with tomalley, crab, spicy seafood xo sauce and glistening cubes of soft tofu.
Co-owner Nancy Chen (who is also co-owner of Otto’s Döner and Otto’s Bierhalle), explains that the look and feel is inspired by her upbringing in Hong Kong (she grew up in a building that was pink and turquoise).
Large dishes include the umami-ladened Not Really Buddha Basket ($18). The vegan dish sees a deep fried taro nest piled high with sautéed cauliflower, shiitake, spinach and corn.
Chen and co-founders (the collective includes Sarah Brown-Duncan of Leeftail Co. and Crows Nest Barbershop; Matt Eckenweiler; Steve Goldby; Thomas Masmejean; Nav Sangha of Otto’s Bierhalle and Miss Things; and Daniel Tal of Dudebox) noticed a dearth of Chinese food in the west end — particularly mainland Chinese fare — and brought their “classics with a creative take” to the neighbourhood.
Veggie Lover Dumplings ($10) are crescent-shaped, earthy green pockets amply stuffed with five spice tofu, spinach and bean sprouts.
The menu is always evolving but since a few of the owners are vegan, about 50 per cent of the menu is also plant-based (veggie- and vegan-friendly). The dishes are at the crossroads of homestyle meals and street fare with an emphasis on presentation and scratch preparation, courtesy of executive chef Jasper Wu (whose previous employers included Miss Things, and the now shuttered Bent).
Dan Dan Mian ($17) is one of the flagship dishes. Springy, spritely housemade golden noodles are tossed with shredded chicken that’s been fortified with spicy sesame.
The meat and fish are all sustainably sourced and ethically-minded. They also donate $1 of every Dan Dan Mian dish served to the Meals on Wheels Program.
The cocktail program is led by Lia Said whose unique offerings incorporate Chinese spices and spirits. The drinks echo the flavour profiles found within the dishes and vice versa; it’s also a way of showing how versatile Chinese ingredients can be.
Millenium Mambo ($15) is a spicy number that mixes tequila, mandarin, lime and Schezwan pepper together.
Also of note is SoSo’s robust wine list, which is also spearheaded by Lia Said. Considered atypical of Chinese restaurant establishments, they’re embracing the growing trend of pairing wines with Chinese food. Chen explains that awareness and education is vital — it’s not an easy feat to match this type of cuisine with wine but when executed well, the flavours can be phenomenal.
They're looking to expand their roster of wine and feature unique wines from China. In August, they plan to host more food events including chef collaborations and five-course tasting menus with wine pairings.
Family-Style Whole Sea Bream ($34) is a more Canto style dish. It is flash fried and coated in a heady, rich black bean chili sauce and is surrounded by fresh steamed clams.
Currently, SoSo Food Club is only open for dinner starting at 5 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. In the future, the team plans to further play off the concept of the food club with the introduction of a Shanghainese brunch.
1166 Dundas St. W. (416-519-6661) www.sosofood.club