R&D brings modern Asian cuisine to Toronto’s Chinatown

R&D, the collaborative effort of Eric Chong, the first-ever winner from CTV’s MasterChef Canada, and his mentor Alvin Leung (Bo Innovation, Bo London, MIC Kitchen and MasterChef Canada will open the first week of April. The restaurant is located in the heart of Toronto’s Chinatown at 241 Spadina Avenue, and boasts a menu inspired by Asian flavours. Venerable chef Nelson Tsai (Trump Toronto, Blue Water Cafe, Auberge du Pommier) rounds out the team as chef de cuisine.

The concept of dualism is reflected by every detail of the restaurant, from menu to design to philosophy. Eastern dishes meet western style in the form of modern Chinese sharing plates, where classic ingredients are given the vanguard treatment. Chefs Chong and Leung travelled extensively throughout Asia while conceptualizing the menu, pulling heavily from their Malaysian and Hong Kong roots.

“The menu is a tribute to Canadian and Asian cuisine,” said Leung. “Just as this country calls itself a mosaic of cultures, so too does our menu. We combine the flavours and aromas of our Asian heritage with modern twists on our favourite Canadian dishes. It is very much a collaboration between myself and Eric.”

randd logoThe name R&D refers not only to Chong and Leung’s “rebel & demon” personalities, but is also a nod to their engineering backgrounds, referencing the term “research & development”. Both chefs are known for their methodical approach to cooking and admit that their engineering roots greatly influence their dishes; each R&D plate harmonizes this analytical method with the chefs’ bold passion for great flavours. Modern dim sum dishes like Grandpa’s Fun Guo (chicken with black truffle) and Little Dragon Buns (spicy Sichuan lamb or chicken tom yum) are offered alongside sharing plates such as Lobster Chow Mein (wok-fried lobster, chittara noodles) and the Umami Caesar (clams, kale, Brussels sprouts, tomato, celery). CSB (Chinese BBQ pork, milk bun, Mexican topping) will be freshly made on the hour, and served dim sum-style. Larger sharing options like General Sanders’ Chicken (Kung pao sauce, Sichuan maple syrup, HK egg waffles) and 76HR Peking Duck (served with steamed buns and three slaws) are primed to become fan favourites.

The lunch menu, with additional medium-size dishes like Taiwanese Oyster Frittata (green onion, cilantro) and Chinese Hash (poached eggs, lap cheung sausage, sweet potato, preserved radish, Sichuan hollandaise), is available from Thursday to Sunday (for full hours see below). A myriad of playful fusion cocktails, conceptualized by general manager and mixologist Robin Wynne, will also be on offer. The Toasted Coconut & Chai Spiced Pina Colada puts a modern, refreshing twist on bubble tea, embracing and complementing the Asian flavours of the menu.

“I grew up dreaming of cooking – I’d watch my grandfather in his restaurant and I knew this was what I wanted to do,” said Chong. “I can’t wait to share R&D with the community and show not only how far I’ve come, but how much further I’m willing to go.”    

R&D is open concept, abuzz with energy and fast-paced service, but with a design that gives the restaurant an intimate atmosphere. The stylish interior was created by Commute Design (Byblos, Little Sister, Patria), who wanted the space to reflect R&D’s dualistic nature. Sophisticated drum lighting adorns the ceiling while mixed-material mural installations featuring Chinese-inspired street art line the walls of the main dining room.

R&D will be open for lunch Thursday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. nightly, with an extensive bar menu available until late. For more information or to make reservations, please call 416.586.1241 or click here.

For more information on R&D, visit www.RDspadina.com.

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