Head to Patois For a Taste of Toronto’s Budding Fusion Scene

This innovative Little Italy restaurant serves an unlikely mashup of Caribbean and Asian soul food
chicken

Credit: Patois

Owner and chef Wong's menu was inspired by his Chinese, Jamaican, and Canadian background.

Toronto is a melting pot of cultures and so it’s not surprising that it’s full of restaurants serving fusion cuisine. In every corner of Toronto, you can spot eclectic, ethnic restaurants ranging from Tibetan to Spanish cuisines.

Patois is one example of the many restaurants embracing this fusion trend. The name “Patois” is translated as, "the merging of great food ideas from various cultures, executed with respect for the ingredients," on its website. The restaurant is located in Little Italy, one of Toronto’s trendiest restaurant locations and claims to be an eatery where “Caribbean meets Asian soul food.” While fusion is hard to do, Patois’ owner, chef Craig Wong, has successfully embodies the idea of Patois in his dishes.

The restaurant has a laid back atmosphere with loud hip-hop music playing in the background and a mixture of communal tables, bar seating, and regular seating tables. If you’re looking for privacy, this may not be the restaurant for you; however, this is an ideal second date spot to indulge in Patois’ great range of cocktails.  This place fills up quickly on a Friday night, so be sure to call for a reservation! Unless you don’t mind sitting at the bar.

For starters, we ordered the Kimchi potstickers “Pierogi” style. The potstickers were topped off with bacon, kimchi sour cream, and scallions, and came with a side of caramelized onions. Sadly, the dish was underwhelming; in my opinion, it was a failed attempt to make a traditional dish — one that’s been mastered by Asian cuisines — better. Some fusion restaurants try too hard to give traditional dishes a new spin and this is a perfect example of this. Like the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

For one of our main dishes, we ordered the O.G Fried Chicken with a side of watermelon pickle. The chicken was perfectly crisped and juicy on the inside. Unlike the majority of restaurants that botch attempts at fried chicken, Patois has one of the best-fried chickens in town. This chicken is paired with a Thai basil and sweet Sriracha sauce, giving the chicken an extra kick.

We also ordered the Chinese “pineapple” bun burger. The burger represented the restaurant’s idea of “Caribbean meets Asian Soul food” very well, and reminded me of the culinary flavors in Hong Kong, my heritage. The burger contains hickory sticks, pickled cucumbers, oyster sauce, and a double beef patty. This is one of the juiciest burgers I’ve had in a long time. By using the pineapple bun — a bakery staple in Hong Kong — as the burger bun, it reinvents the idea of fusion comfort food.

Patois is where you indulge. In other words, if you’re looking to count calories, this isn’t the place for you. Also stay updated on its social media accounts for the return of its Sunday Brunch Menu. Count me in for fried chicken and a side of Hong Kong egg waffle in the morning!

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