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Guu Sakabar Toronto

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Guu Sakabar Toronto – Rating 5/5

Guu Sakabar Toronto room shotLocation: 559 Bloor Street West
Phone: (647) 343-1101
Style: Japanese Izakaya


Nothing like a welcome in Japanese to let you know you have arrived.

It’s easy to reserve wonderful outings to celebrate special events, occasions and news. It’s a high point out of the daily grind which forces people to jump and plan an outing. At Guu, from that very first Japanese warm welcome everything begins to feel worth celebrating

Sitting down at the comfortably intimate wooden tables, starting with a Sake Mojito, a typical bar order with a twist. The base is the ramune soda (aka Tokyo marble pop), this flavor being a special edition made for Guu and to top it up of course sake, which they carry in 10 -15 types of grade and qualities on any given day.

Thankfully as Japanese is threading in and out of conversations on what to order, Charlotte the resident supervisor and sake expert is there as a warm hearted guide.

To start, the Kobocha Koroke and the Gomaae

The former, a scotch egg held inside panko crusted deep fried pumpkin.

It’s luxuriously creamy while somehow holding multiples consistencies. The melting of the pumpkin meat and the cooked egged yolk, the exterior crispness, the richness of the Guu sauce and bounce of the egg white. It’s completely unique and a great value. Even at a higher price I would order it readily.

Moving to the latter, the Gomaae is spinach in a black and white sesame sauce served chilled. The cold temperature lets the rich, nutty, salty profile start a meal full of layered personalities.

Looking into the mains is a list of fusion possibilities. The top seller, Kakimayo Aka Gu’s Oyster Rockefeller is anything but shy in portion. Curls of spinach laden in cream with earthy mushrooms and rich cheese. Its decadent and its done right. Of course playing on a little bit of classic influence, the Karaage is a soy marinated deep fried chicken with garlic mayo for the not too adventurous at heart.

Bringing Korean influence into the mix is the Chili Mame Bibimbap and Kinoko Bibimbap. The meat and vegetarian counterparts of each other served in sizzling stone bowls to further cook at your table. The Chili Mame Bibimbap unexpectedly brings salsa to the Asian amalgamation versus the comfort in seaweed, cheese and marinated mushrooms of the Kinoko Bibimbap.

4 Panko crusted Brie squares on a striped bed of mango and blueberry coulis are gently slipped on the table. Brie is too often mishandled and becomes gummy or undercooked. Here it’s oozing volatile velvet. Explosive cascades of smooth drips into a sauce you could bathe in.

Finally for dessert we started with a palette cleansing almond tofu. Many have this as a starter for its perfumy but neutral savoury sweet combo. A great transition to the signature dessert, Goma Zukushi. A mini buffet of Japan’s sweets in a bowl. Red bean paste, stuffed sesame crackers, mochi, black sesame ice-cream, sesame crispy wafers, a thrill for indecisives like myself.

No better way to round the entire visit then with a Matcha Coco. Practically neon, full of malibu and towering with whip cream. No need for a clouded sugary tone. Despite its look even the most apprehensive sweet tooth will drink up.

As authentic as the decor and cuisine can be, that all gets miraculously flipped on its head when you hear Tribe Called Quest, Prince, Aretha Franklin bumping on the sound system and stories of patrons unabashedly incorrectly dancing on tables.

Goodbyes are said and dotted with a shot of an exclusively brewed for Guu (all the way from Fukushima) dry, crisp and clean sake, Zenmai Ginjo.

Exiting again with authentic cheers and waves the restaurant quickly becomes packed with patron groups of old friends, first dates and even solo flying regulars proving the everyday celebration has definitely caught on thanks to Guu.

Guu Sakabar Toronto picGuu Sakabar Toronto pic2Guu Sakabar Toronto pic3

Review By:  Élyse Simpson
Photos By: Daniel Peragine


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