What to Eat this Minute: Two haute cuisine takes designed to elevate the classic Jamaican patty


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The patty ’wich at Patois.

Chances are, you’re familiar with the Jamaican patty. The most well-known version of this cheap ’n’ cheerful snack sees a crescent moon pastry stuffed with spicy ground beef. At Antler and Patois, two very different DuWest restaurants, this classic item has been transformed. 

Get your game on
Chef Michael Hunter is making a case for oft-overlooked game meats at Antler. Need we mention that his name is too well-suited to his chefy endeavours? Thought not. Although in his spare time Hunter puts his money where his name is (i.e., he hunts), his new restaurant dishes out farm-raised game meats (red tape from the government prevents him from serving food he has hunted himself). 

Deer in the headlights
Hunter’s robust twist on the Jamaican classic sees the flaky crust enrobing a centre of moist venison. 

“At home I use venison in place of beef for everything,” he says. “It’s just a red meat.” Red deer sourced from Quebec is ground down and blended with chef’s secret spice mix before being parcelled into the pastry. For the dipping sauce, red peppers are cooked down and blended with a Scotch bonnet purée, providing some extra oomph for those who can never have too much heat.

“I wanted to have fun with our snacks and showcase what Toronto is to me: a really multicultural city,” Hunter says. 

How to have fun
Meanwhile, at Patois, it’s all about the fun factor. Rainbow-hued pool tubes hang from the ceiling; seats are festooned with tropical floral prints; and uplifting tunes bounce across the space. J’eat yet? Craig Wong’s menu runs in step with the decor, with his approach to the food ensuring all is sprinkled with a cheeky twist. 

Fast-food revolution
With his Jamaican-Chinese background, the inclusion of a patty was almost a given. “It really comes from being a naughty kid,” Wong says. “I would always play with my patties and my parents would get so mad!”

Wong’s Jamaican patty sandwich ($7) — a play on the indulgent KFC Double Down — sees not-too-crispy bacon, a gooey Swiss cheese sauce (basically a mornay) and a squirt of Sriracha stuffed between two miniature beef patties. A beef shortening crust — flavoured with turmeric and curry powder — holds the trad beef filling, jacked up with oyster sauce, soy sauce, Scotch bonnets and more.

And there you have it: two classic grab ’n’ go eats gone gourmet. 

Antler, 1454 Dundas St. W., 647-345-8300; Patois, 794 Dundas St. W., 647-350-8999

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Karolyne Ellacott is senior editor at Post City Magazines. She can oft be spotted at Toronto’s most nostalgic diners wearing glittery heels and pink faux fur. Follow all of her eclectic writing interests on Twitter @kellacott and Instagram @itismekar.

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