DaiLo, Toronto

DaiLo pork belly
I just experienced one of the best culinary experiences of my life at DaiLo. I went knowing it had gotten some acclaim and good reviews but, WOW, it was beyond any experience I could have imagined.

The menu right off the bat looked delicious from an a la carte stand point, but we soon figured out that our best bet by far was selecting the chefs tasting menu. This is one of the most spectacular tastings you will ever have and is at a complete steal of a price at $55 per person. We were blown away when we were told that as a party of three we would have the opportunity to taste approximately ten dishes.

Oh Damn! I’m getting ahead of myself here because what do you want to focus on ordering first? Well cocktails of course! Trust me, these are divine.

DaiLo tiki cocktailI went with the a fruity one which I was told was a tiki type cocktail (so no brainier there for me). What delighted me however was that it was actually served in a tiki style glass. Such a fun touch and put the icing on the cake of an already delicious drink.  I’m such a bad blogger because I forgot to take a picture of the cocktail menu and therefore can not give you any names of what I tasted.  But really they are all amazing… I didn’t taste a single cocktail or glass of wine for that matter that disappointed me.

We were lucky with our tasting that by happenstance we got to sample many of the dishes that had stood out  to us on the a la carte menu. We also were able to try a few of the nightly specials, which was a nice treat as we assumed specials would be excluded. It was a bit overwhelming (in the best way possible) as amazing dish after amazing dish kept being placed in front of us.

Following is my attempt at describing the progression of our meal. Really you just need to go and experience it for yourself. Have no fear, if you choose the tasting menu, you will have a discussion with your server on the likes/dislikes at your table. The chef will then cater the tasting to your table, it truly makes for a unique experience.

Starting and ending the meal was a gentle sorbet pallet cleanser.  Even these simple dishes were rich in flavour and refreshing.

Fried watermelon: bean sprouts, basil leaves, pickled melon rind Pork floss. Such an interesting combination of flavours. Having the watermelon fried rather then cold really made for a different flavour profile.

Crispy octopus taco: red braised pork belly, sambal aioli, jicama shell. These were amazing tacos, somehow the pork belly and crispy octopus made the perfect combination. Same concept of combining sweet and savoury flavours, you don’t think they should work together but somehow they do.

Ponzu beef carpaccio: 90 day olliffe’s rib cap, yuzu soy caramel, truffle dwarf peach, pickled chili, fried garlic, cilantro. One of the most delicate dishes I’ve ever had the pleasure of sampling. The flavours however were anything but delicate, instead bold and entrancing.

Ontario pea dumplings: smoked Chinese sausage, soy brown butter, summer truffle nut crumble. I could eat these all day every day. Whatever you decide to order this has to be one of them!

Hakka brown wontons (Pork & shrimp): toasted sesame oil, house xo sauce, almond crumble. Very good but not as special as the other dishes, too similar to Chinatown dim sum.

Grilled monforte cheese (a feature of the night): halloumi, picked, grilled and roasted oyster mushroom, lemongrass jus, fava bean, pistachio, cilantro breadcrumb, nasturtium. Lots of different flavours but the cheese was not my favourite, the rest of my table loved it though.

Pork belly with zucchini blossoms (a feature of the night):  this is the only one I don’t have a proper description from the restaurant for but it was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The port belly was tender with the perfect amount of crispness on top. The zucchini blossoms were out of this world ( and this is from someone that doesn’t like zucchini! ). Stuffed with avocado and then fried in the most delicate batter, no words can describe the delight you will feel. (pictured at intro to post)

Truffle fried rice: black truffle, egg, carrots, edamame, puffed rice, xo sauce. Great as a side dish, not too heavy but very flavourful.

Tempura fried broccoli (a feature of the night): rhubarb BBQ sauce, truffle ranch dressing, sambal braised collards, pickled okra.  An explosion of flavours! The tempura batter is also the best I’ve tasted, I got almost a hint of sweetness from it which I loved.

Ollife’s 90 day dry aged rib eye (12 oz): bok Choy, radish, soy pickled mushroom, Asian chimichurri. We were surprised to get this dish as it’s quite large but obviously we were delighted. The meat was a perfect medium rare that melted in your mouth.

The complexity of flavours Dailo achieves just completely astounds me. It has quickly become my new favourite restaurant in all of Toronto. I look forward to continually being impressed with every visit, they have certainly set the bar high after this visit

Dailo’s website HERE.