restaurant concepts

Restaurant concepts to watch for in April

By Aaron Jourden

In this edition of “concepts to watch,” we highlight three restaurant concepts that are making an impact on Canadian diners. Here’s a look at the characteristics and menu offerings that make these restaurants unique.

Mean Bao

Instagram: 1,715 followers | Facebook: 429 likes | Twitter: 505 followers
Locations: Three (Toronto)

Concept characteristics:

  • Boldly flavoured Asian baos and dim sum
  • Traditional Asian recipes influenced by Toronto’s diverse cultures
  • Affordable, customizable and diet-friendly menu options
  • Street food appeal

Menu snapshot:

  • Braised Beef Bao—steamed bun with bok choy and Taiwanese pickle
  • Sloppy Jones Bao—steamed bun with minced pork, cucumber and scallion
  • Sticky Quinoa—bowl of quinoa, chicken, lap cheong (Chinese dried sausage), mushrooms, scallions and salted duck egg

Breka Bakery & Cafe

Instagram: 430 followers | Facebook: 1,779 likes | Twitter: N/A
Locations: Three (Vancouver)

Concept characteristics:

  • European-style bakery with a wide assortment of baked goods complemented by sandwiches and premium coffee
  • Atmosphere blends rustic elements with contemporary design
  • Decorative cakes available whole and by the slice
  • 24/7 operating hours with free Wi-Fi

Menu snapshot:

  • Goat Cheese & Salami Sandwich—with sun-dried tomato, spring greens and garlic butter on artisan baguette
  • Bienenstich—a classic German soft yeast sponge cake filled with custard and whipped cream and topped with slices of candied almonds
  • Tortes—flavours include Dutch apple, blueberry-raspberry and poppy seed

Cacao 70

Instagram: 1,850 followers | Facebook: 25,910 likes | Twitter: 1,278 followers
Locations: 12 (Quebec, Ontario, Vancouver)

Concept characteristics:

  • Menu and concept built around premium artisanal chocolate
  • Elevated bistro experience well-suited for groups
  • Food prepared in-house from scratch using quality ingredients
  • Communal atmosphere intended to encourage sharing and socializing

Menu snapshot:

  • Vegetable Frittata—with egg, spinach, onion, basil, tomato and feta, served with toast, fruit and melted chocolate
  • Roast Beef Pressed Crepe Sandwich—roast beef, mushrooms and cheddar, all folded and pressed in a French crepe
  • Feel Like Chocolate—a quarter of a 12-inch chocolate-and-marshmallow pizza, chocolate brownie bites, chocolate wafers, mini hot chocolate and chocolate-covered ice cream, with whipped cream and melted chocolate for topping
  • Banana Split Waffle—caramelized bananas in a milk chocolate sauce atop a waffle, served with chocolate-coated cereals, chocolate-covered ice cream and melted chocolate

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