SoSo Food Club
Toronto, ON M6J 1X4
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.
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).
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.
SoSo Food Club's 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).
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.
Also of note is SoSo Food Club'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.