Yujiro chef plans Tokyo-style tapas venue


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The chef behind popular sushi restaurant Yujiro on Grant Avenue has another project up his sleeve.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/10/2018 (1523 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The chef behind popular sushi restaurant Yujiro on Grant Avenue has another project up his sleeve.

Chef Edward Lam says GaiJin Izakaya — set to open in November — will be in the tradition of Tokyo izakaya (sake pubs), with a vibrant lounge atmosphere, featuring premium drinks and tapas plates.

Chef Edward Lam is opening GaiJin Izakaya, a twist on Japanese tapas, in November. (Ruth Bonneville / Free Press files)

Lam says via email that the menu will be a “Japanese style of tapas restaurant with a twist.” The dishes will be based on Japanese cooking methods or ingredients, but with a fusion of Chinese, French or Korean cuisine.

The restaurant will also serve all-day ramen, as well as new styles of sashimi and 10 to 15 different types of Japanese barbecue skewers.

Gaijin is a word used in Japan to describe any non-Japanese person, but Lam doesn’t want the name to have any negative connotation. “In Japan, foreigners who live in Japan for a period of time don’t like Japanese (to) call them gaijin, because they feel like excluded from the locals,” he says. “But I call my restaurant GaiJin only because I’m a GaiJin (Chinese), opening a Japanese-style restaurant in a foreign country, serving foreigners.”

Lam and his team did not confirm a location, but it looks as if restaurant-starved Transcona — 1575 Regent Ave. W., to be exact — might be lucking out.

Also expanding its reach is Charleswood’s Capital Grill and Bar. Chef Wayne Martin’s casual restaurant on Roblin Boulevard, which serves upscale comfort food, is scheduled to open Capital Broadway downtown at 275 Broadway later this month. Martin held an evening for families of special-needs kids supported by Variety, the Children’s Charity of Manitoba, at the new location Sept. 24.

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Magic Bird Fried Chicken opens Oct. 31 at the Handsome Daughter. (C. Lucky photos)

Last week’s fried-chicken pop-up at The Forks may have primed Winnipeggers’ taste buds for the crispy southern-style treat. So it’s good news that Magic Bird Fried Chicken is opening up Oct. 31, inside Sherbrook Street bar/restaurant the Handsome Daughter.

The menu is filled with artery-clogging goodness — fried chicken, spicy fried chicken (you can choose your heat level: mild, hot or scorcher), fried chicken sandwiches, loaded chicken strips, curly fries, potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, pickles, biscuits and gravy, and pie — and is the brainchild of Winnipeg chef Mike O’Connell, who worked at the Handsome Daughter’s restaurant in 2016-17, before leaving for a year to work at the Roost.

“We’ve had this idea for a couple of years,” says Mischa Decter, manager of the Handsome Daughter, which is also a live music venue. “We were looking for a good location and nothing was coming up, so we decided to rebrand the restaurant here.”

For now, Magic Bird will follow the bar’s hours — 5 p.m. till late (usually midnight, Decter says), but there are plans to expand to lunch service and possibly other locations, depending on the reception.

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When Filipino chain Jollibee opened its doors in Winnipeg, many customers were disappointed that the local version of the popular fast-food restaurant didn’t serve halo-halo.

Strawberry shaved ice with jellied coconut and cantaloupe from Snozen. (Instagram)

Halo-halo (pronounced HAH-lo HAH-lo) literally means “mix-mix.” The dessert consists of a layer of sweetened tropical fruits such as jackfruit, macapuno (julienned soft coconut), Nata de Coco (coconut jellies), candied beans and corn. The middle layer is usually shaved ice and evaporated milk, which is topped by ice cream, leche flan (custard), ube jam (purple yam), pinipig (crisped rice), and other colourful treats.

There are several city outlets that offer halo-halo, including Jimel’s Bakery (471 Bannatyne Ave.); Jeepney (714 Sargent Ave.); Asia City (519 Sargent Ave., 1440 McPhillips Ave. and 1264 Jefferson Ave.); Supreme Ice Cream Shoppe (1295 Jefferson Ave.); and Mangkok International Cuisine (1075 Notre Dame).

But if a piled-high halo-halo seems like too much of a good thing, new Asian café Snozen (1039 Cathedral Ave.) serves a somewhat scaled-down version. The bare-bones but modern little café in a renovated house features shaved ice in flavours such as mango, green tea, avocado and lychee, with topping selections that include Oreo, cantaloupe, jellied coconut, red bean, chocolate chips, strawberries, blueberries and honeydew melon.

The restaurant also serves hard ice cream, as well as banh mi, chicken fingers, salad rolls and curried fish balls.

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Winnipeg chef Scott Bagshaw in The Commons where he opened his new restaurant, Passero, at The Forks. (John Woods / Free Press files)

A glossy feature in the Guardian online (sponsored by Canada: Keep Exploring) named Passero at The Forks as one of Canada’s top dining experiences.

“Reserve a seat at the marble countertop to watch Italian-influenced dishes being prepared in the open kitchen of this buzzing, compact dining space on the ground floor of The Forks Market,” reads the article, titled Ten Canadian Restaurants and Bars That Will Blow Your Mind. It goes on to recommend the gnocchi, arancini and the egg-topped beef tartar.

In less advertorial news, the restaurant is also on the short list for enRoute’s annual roundup of Canada’s best restaurants.



Twitter: @dedaumier

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson
Senior copy editor

Jill Wilson writes about culture and the culinary arts for the Arts & Life section.

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