We’ve been waiting a long time to see what the two famed Toronto restaurateurs Charles Khabouth of Ink Entertainment and Hanif Harji of Icon Legacy have in store for the Storys Building on Duncan Street. It has been privy to some of the most A-list celebrities during TIFF, some fabulous events and last spring we saw the The Cocktail Parlor open on the second floor. But talk of a restaurant has been in the works since they acquired the space and finally we hear that on March 17th, their 2-year work in progress will open as Eastern Mediterranean Restaurant, Byblos. Surprised? We were – we had heard seafood or tapas but never Eastern Mediterranean…. But that’s what these boys do best; keep everyone guessing in anticipation for what they’re doing next!
Byblos opens its doors to the public on March 17th with a menu that will represent a marriage of both traditional and local Eastern Mediterranean ingredients using classic cooking techniques and modern methods. Executive Chef Stuart Cameron (Weslodge and Patria) has created dishes that showcase the regionally-specific spices and flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard. “These aren’t your great aunt’s recipes, but the food will be both authentic yet distinct,” proclaims Chef Cameron. “We are building on the essence of the traditional preparations, letting that guide us as we create a new method and develop our own approach to Eastern Mediterranean cuisine.”
In true Storys Building style, cocktails will be an important part of the Byblos experience with House Alchmist Wes Galloway’s cocktail creations. A menu that pays homage to the ports and towns of the coastal Mediterranean and Middle East, all cocktails, including original creations like The Grand Bazaar, North Wind and The Malabar, will be crafted with tonics, bitters and garnishes that are made from scratch. They’ve even managed to create interactive experiences with cocktails such as the Rotating Punch Bowl, serving 3-6 people, and the Arak Ritual, served tableside.
“It’s about the overall experience and the ability to take our guests on a journey,” says Khabouth. “Byblos will stimulate and heighten the senses with every aspect of the concept; from the freshly foreign menu selections, to the cocktails and the musical programming.”
Lately we have seen many Middle Eastern restaurants populate Toronto, however this Eastern Mediterranean concept is fairly unique in our city and as usual, not surprising that it comes from this restaurant power duo. “We take great inspiration from the different culinary regions we explore; immersing ourselves entirely, sourcing the finest and the most humble ingredients that truly represent the cuisine,” says Harji. “But our ambition is to know a place so well that we have the freedom to interpret the experience; presenting it in a way that we hope our guests will enjoy as much as we do.”
As they’ve done over and over with their other venues, we have no doubt Byblos will become a destination for a true Eastern Mediterranean experience in Toronto.
Byblos will be open Monday to Saturday from 5pm to close, as of March 17th.
Thoughts on this new restaurant at the Storys Building? Let us know below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.