Wow, what an amazing tasting menu we had last night at Doma! Doma is a newly opened French inspired Korean restaurant (just opened about 2 weeks ago at the time of writing) located in the heart of Little Italy at 50C Clinton Street in Toronto. Two foodie friends and I decided to try this new restaurant out after seeing them interact with our accounts on Instagram.
From the outside, Doma looked like a little house and it can be easy to miss their storefront as a restaurant if you aren’t looking carefully. However, this slightly obscure location made the restaurant very charming and humble at first impression especially with a small clipboard of its menu attached at the front of the fence.
Walking in, Doma had a large dining space where the tables were placed in a scattered fashion. The lighting was dim and each wooden table was fit with a small sprig of greenery as well as really cool black eating utensils that looked like plastic but were not. These utensils had a much longer handle than usual and added to the modern chic look of the place.
Doma has a menu that changes monthly, with only two or three popular dishes kept from the previous month, and followed by the chef’s new selections. We visited at the end of November and thus were treated to their November 2016 menu. After we had all been seated, the male server gave us a quick run-down and introduction of Doma. Doma offers a $65 tasting menu to try all of the dishes on their current menu or you could order a la carte and share. All of their dishes are meant to be shared and resembled a fine dining restaurant in the presentation and style of service.
We decided to splurge (well, I did at least XD) and try the tasting menu for the three of us. Very quickly after informing the server of this, our first dish appeared in the form of an amuse bouche. This was a potato and leek foam with crispy leek. We received individual portions of this to start off the tasting menu.
I really enjoyed this amuse bouche! The crispy leeks gave a great texture and slightly salty flavour to the flavourful potato and leek foam. The foam was almost like a soup but definitely foamy especially near the top. I loved this!
Aside from the amuse bouche, there were eight courses of food that arrived for us that night. It included seafood, vegetables, meat, as well as two choices of dessert. They used authentic Korean ingredients for each dish that were also fresh local produce.
For our first dish (they list each dish by its ingredients only on the menu; no names to the dish), we had a nicely assembled dish of beet, gochujang, rice vinegar, chili oil (powder), (Fuji) apple, almond, and perilla oil. It was a beautifully plated dish with the beets diced up and formed into a rectangular shape (beet tartare). I loved the slightly spicy cheesy chili oil powder that accompanied the dish on the side. The beets were so fresh and the ingredients worked together so well.
The yam, Asian sweet potato, portobello, shiitake, black mushroom, shimeji, truffle, and dates also arrived perfectly plated. Every ingredient was fresh and what stood out here was the sauce that marinated everything together. I couldn’t help but use my fork to scoop up the rest of the sauce on the plate because it was just so good! :9
The octopus, konyak, mustard seed, mustard, cucumber, pear, watercress, and bell pepper were like an octopus salad. The octopus was substantial, firm in texture, not chewy at all, and well seasoned. The sauce again in this dish was so good; just slightly tangy with a bit of heat from the mustard seed.
The scallop, fish, prawn, clam, perilla seed, Korean chili, kimchi, yellow zucchini, and peas were yet another fabulous dish that had very fresh ingredients and showed off the chef’s talent in creating the most delicious sauces. (Since this was a tasting menu for three, we did have a scallop missing — there were only two in the dish — so we informed the server who then apologized for the oversight and the kitchen soon brought us a third scallop.) The fish, prawn, scallop, and clams were all so fresh and perfectly cooked — the fish was tender and moist, the prawn and clam were so fresh, and the scallop was so soft and meaty. The sauce was topped with some Korean chili and again I just had to lap everything up after we had finished the contents because the sauce was perfect!
The pork jowl, doenjang, heirloom carrot, fingerling potato, lotus root, perilla, yuzu, and gochujang were yet another amazing dish. The pork jowl was slightly charred with its fat scored slightly — it was beautiful; too bad I wasn’t able to capture these details in the photo. The gochujang was spicy enough to give a small kick to the dish but otherwise didn’t take away the natural flavour and slight seasoning to the pork jowl. The pork jowl was fatty but tasted incredible — so fatty, moist, and well seasoned. The yuzu was also a great addition to the dish by adding a light tarty flavour. Yum, this was definitely one of my favourite dishes of the night! ❤
The beef, soy sauce, rice syrup, Asian radish, green onion, aioli, onion, shallot, and garlic were another amazing dish (seriously, no dish here at Doma was bad). The beef, combined with the ingredients, was simply perfect — tender, juicy, moist, perfect seasoning. The Asian radish was artfully sliced and plated too to give the entire presentation such a pleasant aesthetic.
(On Instagram, Doma has expanded on their dish description with this: grilled kalbi made with fresh ground beef, mix of chcuk, brisket, striploin with sweet kalbi glaze, gochujang aioli, pickled korean radish, charred scallion puree, shallot, and garlic chips.) 🙂
Last but not least and before dessert, we had the duck prepared in two ways: Duck breast, duck confit, foie gras, mandoo, duck jus, persimmon, red chili, and hazelnut. The duck breast: perfect — why was I not surprised? Doma prepared their meat dishes so, so well. The taste wasn’t gamey at all but firm and flavourful. The duck confit was contained in what looked like a wonton, all wrapped up. The cauliflower “mash” was incredible as well as the dollops of persimmon on the plate. This was another flavourite dish of the night!
We were served a dessert choice each. One was the mugwort ice cream, redbean sponge cake, and yuzu curd while the other was a grain ice cream, purple sweet potato sticky rice doughnut, brown rice puffs, black sesame glaze, and brittle.
All of their dishes were pieces of artwork and needless to say, dessert was another two plates of art! The mugwort ice cream was definitely different; it tasted dense and rich and its texture like black sesame but with hints of green tea. The grain ice cream was simple but refreshing and the purple sweet potato sticky rice doughnut was unique! The black sesame glaze was really good.
All in all, we had a wonderful and very delicious tasting menu at Doma! All of their dishes were plated with care and artful detail, the ingredients were fresh and marinated together well in the dishes (the sauces were superb), and service was pretty good and especially pleasant and warm from the female server. (The chef himself also came out twice to ask us how the food was which I found really nice and showed that he cared about his customers’ experience.) The only qualm we had (and a big one at that) is that while we each ordered the tasting menu, all of the dishes (with the exception of the amuse bouche and dessert) came together on one plate. It seemed as if the portion of the tasting menu that we got to share was the same portion as if we had ordered the dishes a la carte. I wasn’t too happy about this because it seemed like we were a little ripped off. I had expected ordering individual tasting menus to mean that we would each get our own plate to enjoy. By sharing the contents of the tasting menu on a plate for three people meant that we weren’t really getting our share of what we were paying for.
I think if Doma were to serve their tasting menu in individual portions to their guests, that would have been a perfect dining experience! Other than that, I would highly recommend a night at Doma as their dishes were so delicious, a great mixture between French and Korean cuisine and definitely unlike what you can get in the rest of the city.
Thanks for reading this long post! 🙂