Toronto is home to some of the best Caribbean food you’ll find outside the islands. There’s no shortage of places to go to get your fix of jerk chicken, roti or doubles. As a student those $5 dollar jerk chicken, rice and peas with cole slaw specials were my life line back in the day! It was fast, cheap and delicious! But as I transitioned out of the school hustle I found myself searching for something beyond takeout, I wanted great food and a great ambiance too! Shoutout to all the other folks who want to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and special events while eating some delicious caribbean foods! Enter Toronto’s newest Caribbean Fusion restaurant, Wind up, a hidden gem near College and Bathurst in downtown Toronto that is changing the way caribbean food is served up in the city. With a beautiful and cozy setup, tourism inspired caribbean art lines the restaurant and you can find carnival head pieces mounted on the walls. With jazz renditions of soca playing in the background, this is definitely the place you can go to impress your date! It’s the little details like the way co- owner Whitney, uses food as the inspiration for many of the decor and centrepieces that make this place beautiful.
The head Chef Bryan pulls from his Trini heritage as inspiration for the menu. You can find his spin on classics like Doubles, a trini street food consisting of homemade fried bread filled with curried chickpeas. This delicious snack is usually wrapped up in parchment paper to be eaten on the go. But at Windup you’ll find an interesting twist on this, the doubles are topped with a duck confit which is to die for! Or try his take on curried goat, Chef Bryan takes caribbean classics and experiments with texture while enhancing an already great and bold flavor! He explains,
My favourite thing is the mix between salt and acidic, I always want to have a nice salty element a nice acidic element…but then once I’ve got those covered you want texture you want something crispy in there, you want something sweeter in there, something bitter, something spicy…
What I loved most about Windup is although they play around with classics the authenticity is still there. They jerk chicken in a smoker, green seasoning is still the base for many recipes and you can taste the delicious and vibrant flavours of the Caribbean in each dish. You won’t find a toned down version here! When asked what his vision for the restaurant was, Chef Bryan replied,
To have really good food, really friendly service with a caribbean vibe to it and not feel like their compromising one for the other
There are so many different cuisines in Toronto, all of them get their own patch on the quilt..in different ways. You have Thai places that are finer dining, you have take out, you have shacks, street food. Same with Italian, you can pay a dollar for pizza or $20. And I want to bring that innovation to Caribbean food…because if you put the right work behind it, present it nicely… it’s all quality!
Chef Bryan’s goal is to have Wind up become the showcase for what it means to be Caribbean in Toronto. The next time you’re thinking of hosting an event, taking a date out, dinner with friends or family, try Wind up. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!