The team behind Chinatown’s popular Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie are hard at it, putting the finishing touches on their latest restaurant endeavor, Kissa Tanto, a Japanese-Italian dining concept, due to open in April.
The new project from Bao Bei owner Tannis Ling, Executive Chef Joël Watanabe, and Sous Chef Alain Chow, is located on the upper storey of 263 East Pender, a space perfectly tucked away in old Chinatown.
From the Japanese term, jazu kissa, which refers to the vanishing 1960s jazz cafés of Tokyo and the Italian word tanto, which translates to ‘a lot’, Kissa Tanto is a nostalgic nod to a lost time when it was okay to drink whiskey and listen to jazz on vinyl all night long.
“We want to create a space that gives people a sense of escape to a different time and place — a nightly celebration, even if there’s no real reason to celebrate,” says Ling.
At 80 seats, the restaurant, which has been designed by Ste Marie (Bao Bei, Savio Volpe, Ask for Luigi) is slightly larger than its Keefer Street sibling.
The menu, crafted by Watanabe and Chow, is inspired by the flavours of Japan as much as it is by the warmth of Italian cuisine. As the “House of Plenty” moniker suggests, guests can expect generous selections of fresh seafood, meat, and handmade pasta.
Dishes will include Chawanmushi, a savoury Japanese egg custard with saffron and parmesan on Koshihikari rice; plum-cured Coho salmon with lemon-pickled walnuts, arima sansho, and Tokyo leeks; and kasu-braised pork ragu on fresh tagliatelle.
On the drinks side, there’s wine (mostly European selections with a natural focus) and a variety of updated retro classic cocktails, which will include Swizzles, Amaretto Sours, Singapore Slings, and Irish Coffees.
Kissa Tanto will be open for dinner five nights a week. For further developments (including the opening date) stay tuned to the eatery’s social media pages.