I’m a self-admitted food snob and, over the years, I’ve conditioned my palate to a certain level of refinement that is hard to appease. So when a friend suggested dinner at Doma, the new French-inspired Korean restaurant in Toronto’s Little Italy district, I was fascinated and intrigued by the notion of two dominant food cultures coming together as one.
Tucked away on a quiet side street, Doma’s large white windows offered a glimpse into what could easily be mistaken for a charming French bistro. While it may have been cold out, the soft lights and aesthetically-pleasing decor inside promised us a warm welcome. And one we very much received.
As I scanned the menu, it became apparent why this was presented to us as “French-inspired Korean or Korean-inspired French cuisine”. This menu was not one, but both. Owner and chef Paul Kim, originally from Seoul, is a first-time restaurateur who studied at the acclaimed Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute. Doma is the product of a beautiful marriage between his Korean background and the French cuisine and culinary techniques he mastered, and it is an absolute winning combination.
To really experience the breadth of Doma’s menu, opt for the $65pp Chef’s Tasting Menu which offers a taste of all the incredible eight courses (beverages not included). From the steamed bun amuse bouche, filled with mushroom, caramelized onion and sweet doenjang, to the Butternut Squash and Yam Soup served with a side of sticky rice donut, to the Jeolpan, Grilled Octopus, Mackerel en Papillote, Duck in Two Ways, Beef Striploin and desserts, every bite was a culinary explosion of textures and flavours.
The winning plate for the evening was undoubtedly the duck — perfectly tender slices with the right amount of fat and crisped skin, cooked to moist perfection and accompanied by a duck confit dumpling. Every bite made us yearn for more.
Doma’s menu changes every month, at times retaining the more popular dishes. Given the level of skill and attention required to create every dish, the $65 tasting menu is an incredible deal and makes for a truly memorable meal. It is no surprise that Doma has been considered one of Toronto’s Top 10 new restaurants.
Service is friendly and flawless, and Chef Kim even makes a brief appearance to serve a course and provide some background. The cosiness of the atmosphere makes for a charming restaurant that’s perfect for date nights and intimate special occasions. By the time we left, the restaurant was teeming with couples and groups of friends – each one eager to be swept away into a world of cultural fusion and micro-regional cuisine.
Visit: Doma for information.
Address: 50 Clinton St, Toronto, ON M6G 2Y3, Canada
Hours: Tue-Thu 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-1am; Mon/Sat Closed