I had great expectations coming to this restaurant as I loved what Charles Kabouth and Hanfi Harji did with Patria: the décor and food were so thoughtful and well executed.
Byblos is a stunning space on several levels, each transports you immediately to another world with it’s soft colours, geometric window screens, comfortable semi circular booths and spectacular lighting; the designers from Commute House hit a home run here.
Exotic cocktails tempt with names like Gulab, a rosehip vodka & pomegranate reduction served on crushed ice in a julep glass, and the Ten Suns, a green tea vodka, lemongrass, ginger, yuzu juice and cardamom creation.
Stuart Cameron, executive chef at Patria, is behind the menu here again encouraging the family style eating which seems to be the trend these days and allows the kitchen to send dishes out in any order they wish.
A blend of influences from Morocco, Turkey, and Israel keep you guessing, and one is surprised and delighted time and again. It’s hard to decide between the housemade labneh with fennel, honey, and olive oil, or the roasted beets and pistachios with labneh – I recommend both! Both are served with their barber which is baked daily at Patria then brushed with olive oil and dukah.
I’d also like to applaud the chef for the number of vegetarian and seafooddishes on the menu – such a nice change from all the meatcentric restaurants out there today.
Grilled octopus with a Turkish spoon salad where the octopus was tender beautifully seasoned was a favourite, as was the Acharuli, a brioche pocket filled with cheese, quails eggs and za’atar with great contrast in textures and very comfortingly more-ish. Jeweled Persian rice made to order was well seasoned with sweet jewels of pomegranate and crunch of pistachios in this saffron scented dish are a must.
There are also several meat dishes that shouldn’t be missed like the pork-belly-like lamb ribs and the 2 day slow roasted lamb served with lavish squares and a variety of pickled vegetable and sauces.
Desserts run from housemade burnt honey ice cream to chocolate mouse with crushed baklava and pistachio mouse cake topped with Turkish delight cotton candy: an absolute dream for any sweet teeth out there.
One of my few criticisms of the restaurant is the volumn and selection of music as it leans a bit towards the nightclub vibe and I think if it were toned down it would make many diners happier. That being said I encourage you to visit Byblos at your next opportunity and appreciate what Khabouth, Harji and Cameron are doing for the restaurant scene in Toronto.
11 Duncan St.
Toronto, ON M5V3M2