Lapinou is a new Fresh bistro on King West you can’t miss. Inspired by regional French flavors, the restaurant offers a mix of original offerings with Canadian takes on classics. From the name ‘Lapinou’ which is a French term of endearment to the way they have transformed the space, the brand’s attracted many eyes since its opening. Let’s take a look to see a little of what’s inside.
Located at 642 King Street West, Lapinou is owned by Scale Hospitality and provides offerings from chef Jamie Ullrich who previously served as chef at Nota Bene, Estia, and Byblos North. Lapinou refers to itself as a ‘neo bistro’. This means you can expect to find something a little different in here compared to a Parisian bistro. The oil lamps and chandeliers, and the marble bar that occupies the center of the room clearly communicate a sense of King West-esque uniqueness.
There’s a lot of room in Lapinou to stand and mingle, or sit with friends. There are some semi-private tables and custom couches towards the back of the bistro for larger groups. From this Toronto heritage building, you also have exposed brick and beams, and hardwood floors to feast your eyes on. The total seating count is somewhere around eighty for the whole French bistro. Most of the furniture and lighting fixtures were customized for Lapinou and come from antiques and brass hardware.
When it comes to the food, it’s all high quality. The Angus beef comes from a Millgrove, Ontario cattle farm. The sourdough is house-baked with local flour. Pair it with the in-house made butter and you’ve got a winning appetizer there to enjoy. Even items that aren’t in season are locally sourced and preserved. The flavor profiles lean heavily on French cuisine as one would expect but you also have other worldly influences at play, from Canada to as far away as Australia.
Some of the runaway hits when it comes to choosing a meal include ham smoked in-house, Comte which is a creamy yet crunchy celery remoulade, Fogo Island crab on toast, Mennonite Muscovy duck, the Parisian-style gnocchi, and for dessert, a 70% dark chocolate ganache tart topped with Maldon salt. Transport yourself to Paris in scent and taste, without having to leave King West.
When it comes to beverages, it’s pure France all the way at Lapinou. You can have champagne or wine, selected from their extensive wine list. Classics like chardonnay, cabernet franc, and gamay come alongside trendy newcomers like picpoul, mondeuse, and aligote. There’s a rotating list of open bottles of sparkling for consumption by the glass. Lapinou has made it their modus operandi to find and work with smaller wine producers who come to the table with their beautiful, naturally made wines.
The next time you’re looking for a great King West wine bar or French restaurant to have a look into, keep your eyes peeled for the bunny ears-esque Lapinou graphic. Modern culinary expertise, a glass of French wine, and regional French flavors for brunch, dinner, and late evening snacking await.