restaurant concepts

Restaurant concepts to watch for in April

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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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