Lake Inez: Filipino Feast in Toronto’s Little India

I moved to Toronto in the Fall of 2010 and hit the ground running with a fork and knife in each hand…enthusiastic to explore the restaurant scene of my new home sweet home. I’d spend my weekends exploring Toronto’s diverse multicultural neighbourhoods, chowing down on tacos in Kensington, bulgogi in Korea Town, the perfect slice in Little Italy and Tibetan treats in Parkdale.

I’ll never forget my first visit to Little India, strolling along Gerrard Street East, in awe of the neighbourhoods colourful sari fashion boutiques, bustling grocers…all while the sweet smell of incense wafted through the air. I had peddled over to tuck in at Udupi Palace, considered one of the city’s most authentic South Asian restaurants to devour their signature spicy masala dosa.

Fast forward to a hot summer evening a few weeks ago, when I found myself enjoying deja vu as I stared up at the facade of Udupi Palace moments before skipping across the street to eat at the neighbourhoods most buzzed about new restaurant.

Lake Inez adds a flare to Filipino cuisine in the heart of Toronto’s Little India, offering up inspired dishes from the Southeast Asian island nation that showcase the country’s unique culinary heritage.

Skip through the front door and you’ll find an intimate dining room decked out in vintage cabinetry, potted plants and wine bottles-turned candelabras covered in freshly molten wax. At the back you’ll find an eye-catching mosaic featuring a portrait of Virginia Woolf, Kate Bush and a fluttering magpie which oversee the bars 24 taps which pour some of Ontario’s finest craft beers.

Run your finger down the menu and you’ll encounter a short-but-sweet list of savouries which get creative with Filipino faves. Highlights include the wildly flavourful BB Greens Salad Mountain, Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower, Korean Short Ribs with kimchi mash, and a creamy Manitoulin Trout Curry served alongside a steaming bowl of jasmine rice.

BB Greens Salad Mountain | avocado herb sauce with coconut cream, lap cheong, sundried tomato vin, fried capers, celtuce

Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower | spicy herb sauce, edamame hummus, peanut dukkah

Korean-ish Short Rib | sous-vide beef, kimchi mash, ssamjang mayo, pickled veg, bibb lettuce

Manitoulin Trout Curry | mustard greens, savoy cabbage, peanuts, cilantro

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