In a city as diverse as Toronto, it’s possible to try cuisines from all corners of the world. And recently opened on Bayview south of Eglinton is Mayrik, a new destination giving residents a sample of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine.
At 23, Sebouh Yacoubian is the chef and owner of Mayrik. Mayrik means “mother” in Armenian, and mothers are a very important part of Armenian culture. Yacoubian explained that the restaurant is an ode to his late mother. He aims to showcase his mother’s cuisine; the food that he grew up on.
“We have such a culture behind our food and our wines and our spirits that nobody really knows about, and that’s what we want to showcase over here,” said Yacoubian.
The interior was designed to be simple and rustic, with blank walls and a colour scheme consisting of white and dark charcoal grey. The space is furnished with dark barn board, black tables and chairs, while bright white bar space is decorated with Mediterranean tiles. An open kitchen and bar allows visitors to see the chef and bartender at work, and near the back a grid shelf houses colourful ware, stylish light fixtures and a backlit M. A patio out front allows for extra seating during warmer months.
Mayrik’s menu includes a number of dishes found in Armenian, Greek and Lebanese cultures. Eastern Mediterranean food is very fresh, featuring grilled meat, fish and lots of vegetables. At Mayrik, all the ingredients are fresh and freshly prepared everyday. The freezer only holds one item: ice cream.
An extensive wine menu includes two of the top-selling Armenian wines, but the restaurant also specializes in cocktails.
A good way to start the meal is getting the fatoush ($18), a Middle Eastern salad made with Ontario tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, purslane, parsley, bread and dressed with a soumac yogurt. It’s refreshing and balanced, everything a salad should be.
Kibbeh Nayeh ($16), a traditional Lebanese dish, is also worth trying. The beef tartar is seasoned with capers, lemon, a house made pepper paste, and puffed bulgur. It’s tender, savoury and pairs well with the warm, house made bread.
Recommended mains are the karnoug ($34), Ontario lamb chops, or tsoug; fish of the day, and it should be paired with a side of misov pilav ($12); orzo with pulled beef. End the meal with baklava ($12), a signature Middle Eastern dessert, and you’ll have tasted your way around the Mediterranean.
Everything at Mayrik — from the food and drinks to the music played in the restaurant— serves to give you a glimpse into the Armenian, Greek and Lebanese way of life.
“We don’t want to just sell food. We don’t want to just sell wine,” said Yacoubian. “We want to take you through an entire culture.”
Mayrik is open from Tuesday to Thursday 5pm to 10:30pm, Friday to Saturday 5pm to 12am, and Sunday 5pm to 10pm.
Have you tried Mayrik yet? What was your favourite dish? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.