Chef Claudio Aprile has been kitchen-less for months, but all that is set to change when Copetin opens their doors next week, after a vigorous renovation of the original Origin, and a newly minted partnership with Henry Wu. Henry is the silent and mostly invisible partner to not only Claudio’s new spot, but Susur Lee’s projects, as well as the Wahlburgers chain, and plenty of other under the radar projects. Chef Aprile is enthusiastic about his relationship with Wu, who’s more than just the finances – Aprile counts him as his personal friend too, an accomplice for his new journey on King East.
The footprint of the space is largely the same; the bones of this heritage building aren’t meant for budging. The space has been re-worked though, with four distinct ‘zones’: the dining area, flanked by exposed brick wall and sheltered from the open kitchen, the kitchen counter, for six, which will feature Chef’s adventurous tasting menus, and adjacent to that is the bar area, with raised tabletops allowing for perfect surveying of the entire room. Set in the bar area is a semi-private dining room flanked by Chef’s hand chosen record collection, none of which will be part of the playlist, he adds, “too obvious”. And finally, the patio. Each of these four departments will have their own menu, and notably, the patio even boasts its own outdoor kitchen too. Delineating and dividing the space makes sense, and will no doubt keep the kitchen humming, a space King Claudio will be a focal point in.
Copetin was a name suggested by Aprile’s own mother, which translates to socialize, or to be social, and that sentiment is echoed by these distinct areas. The bar, patio, dining room and kitchen counter all have their own distinct menus and dining experiences. The food is pretty, and spectacular, those that are fans of Chef Aprile’s creations will delight in seeing tableside theatrics back in the mix, with doses of liquid nitrogen to set the freeze-dried blueberries in his Rosehip Bavoir ($12) or the hand pouring of soup from a delicate vase for his Jerusalem Artichoke Soup ($12), with earthy ground pumpernickel adding a distinctive and surprising crunch.
The Sea Bream ($35) makes a case for Chef’s devotion to the art of plating. As someone who judges people on national TV as a profession, it’s no surprise Claudio can be a stickler for pretty plates. But it goes beyond looks here; the careful dicing and arranging of the tidy morsels brings pops of flavour to each bite, with chorizo, asparagus, olives and clams all playing supporting roles to the saffron scented corn velouté base for the tender sea bream.
Bar bites include the crispy Beet + Goat Cheese Tostada ($9), with a house made mole that verges on a slight Nutella finish, and highlights the creativity of such an easy, yet complex arrangement – beets, goat cheese, sure, but romesco and dill add some interest beyond just pretty garnishes. This is food to get excited for.
Cocktails will be on point too, and just as imaginative as the plates, with offerings like the Pollenator ($16 for 2 oz) with chamomile infused gin and in-house made peach bitters.
It’s good to see a celebrity chef back at the top of his game. Even better when they’re actually helming the kitchen themselves too. Expect to see a lot more of this Chef, and I’m not talking just MasterChef Canada repeats (no judgement here).
Copetin officially opens on July 13 and will be open at noon every day and closed Mondays. The patio is open from 11am on weekends for your brunch needs.
Will you visit Copetin? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.