Chef Susur Lee is getting Veggelicious @ BENT

10 Sep

Just over a year ago, it was when my Dad was helping me drop things off at my then new apartment that we spotted him.

Me: “Dad, I think that’s Susur Lee!”

My Dad: “That does look like him, but are you sure? What would Susur Lee be doing on your street?”

Susur Lee preparing *Tingly* Chilled Soba !

Susur Lee preparing *Tingly* Chilled Soba !

A quick google search proved that the restaurant at the end of my street, BENT, was indeed run by Susur Lee (and his sons). Suddenly, my parents thought much more highly of my neighbourhood. If you had told either of us that Susur Lee would be telling me to “Dig in!” to a selection of his dishes a menu preview a year later, neither of us would have believed you.

Chickpea Tempura Tofu! The secret ingredient is Fish Mint.

Chickpea Tempura Tofu! The secret ingredient is Fish Mint (look it up, it’s a real thing!).

And yet, there I was, a Luckee and hungry blogger who was hosted by Chef Susur Lee, his son Kai, bartender Manual and Chef’s gracious assitant, Kelsea. I was one of a number of bloggers who were invited to participate in the #Veggelicious101 experience – which previewed Bent’s Veggelicious menu, let us peer into Chef Susur Lee’s process, his team’s thoughful preparations and connect with the Toronto food blogging community.

What is Veggelicious at Bent? A 100% vegetarian 5 course tasting menu that is only available until September 20th. It explores seasonal flavours and reminds you how hearty, complex and thoughtful a vegetarian meal can be. Pictured above, the Chickpea Tempura Tofu could fool any carnivore. Bent’s tasting menu hopefully marks a new trend in vegetarian culinary innovation being given centre stage at top tier Toronto restaurants.

 

The beautiiful and delicate tasting Karate Kid cocktail from Manuel. , Special ingredients: gin infused with jasmine green tea, sake and yuzu juice.

The beautiiful and delicate tasting Karate Kid 2 cocktail from BENT cocktail guru, Manuel.Special ingredients include : gin infused with jasmine green tea, sake and yuzu juice. The Asian Ceasar is a fan favourite but this will be my go to cocktail at BENT.

What I am most looking forward to enjoying when I head to Veggelicious with friends next week is enjoying the Tingly Soba Noodles with a Karate Kid 2 cocktail. Why? The noodles are cheekily named “tingly” because of the hint of szechwan, which according to Chef Lee, is “all about the feeling”. The Karate Kid 2 hits my favourite cocktail trend of the year: tea infused liquor. Even if Manual provided us with the hints of how to make it at home (4 bags of tea in 750mL of gin for 4 hours), I doubt I will be able to find the yuzu juice that brings the flavours together.

 

French Meringue with golden licorine, topped with lemon curd, wild blueberries, peaches, passion fruit sauce, and  raspberry coulis - who said vegetarians don't know how to have fun?

French Meringue with golden licorine, topped with lemon curd, wild blueberries, peaches, passion fruit sauce, and raspberry coulis – who said vegetarians don’t know how to have fun?

One of the best part of the afternoon event was that Chef Lee was not only open to sharing his process, but also asked us all about why and how we became active participants in the Toronto food blogging scene. One reason that came up many times over, yet in different iterations, was the desire to share our mostly positive experiences and proudly be part of the Toronto food scene.

If you’re reading this I can share another special preview that we were treated to: learning that Chef Lee’s famous Singapore Slaw will be included on the Bent menu starting later this year. What a treat! Even more of a treat is the French meringue that tops off the Veggelicious tasting menu. Beautiful presentation, exquisite flavours – all quickly devoured by ravenous bloggers!

September is full of promise of new beginnings, so treat yo self  to a healthy and hearty meal and book a spot to enjoy Bent’s Veggelicious Menu. It already started yesterday and it’s only on until September 20th! Call them at 647-352-0092 or book online at http://www.bentrestaurant.com/

 

 

BIG THANK YOU to Kelsea for the invitation, Chef Susur Lee, Kai and the team at BENT for being so welcoming, warm and accomodating. Another thank you belongs to all of the Toronto food bloggers who made the event so fun! Best question to Chef was from Mary Tang – when she asked how he stayed fit and focused. His answer: yoga and eating veg. 

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