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]Noka (@nokatoronto) is yet another Japanese restaurant to arrive in the Annex. I came to Noka for an 8 course tasting organized by Ken (@inyourmouthTO) and Emily (@Emlarr).

The interior

The restaurant is located on Bloor, just east of Bathurst and has a bright orange space with modern décor. If you’re ever in the area for lunch or after work, Noka has cheap lunch specials and great happy hour specials.

The sushi bar

Before the tasting began, Chef Cheng Lin gave us a demonstration on the preparation of their homemade salad dressing. Given the number of fruits he used to create the dressing, you’d think he was making a smoothie. I was surprised by how tasty it was!

Chef Lin demonstrating the preparation of their homemade salad dressing

The event also featured beer from the Kensington Brewing Company (@drinkgoodbeer), a local brewing company. They recently rolled out their flagship brew, the Augusta Ale, into LCBO locations. We got a chance to sample the beer and it definitely hit the spot on this hot day.

Kensington Brewing Company

We started off the meal with Salmon Sashimi which came with three types of soy sauce – regular store bought, low-sodium store-bought and Noka’s own soy sauce. I don’t think I need to tell you which one we all enjoyed the most!  The sashimi was fresh and a great way to start off the tasting.

Salmon Sashimi

Course #2 was the Green Ocean – with fava bean, yogurt, sweet shrimp and edible flower. The dish consisted of a piece of tempura shrimp (including the head) sitting on top of a fava bean puree. I just wish the shrimp had come out a little crispier (probably a result of sitting on top of the puree).

The Green Ocean

Course #3 was the Threesome, consisting of three types of rolls. There were definitely jokes all around the table about having threesomes at Noka… The 3 rolls which came with it were the Stuffed Tuna – with tuna, spicy scallop and leek, Ex-Girlfriend – mango, tuna, asparagus, avocado and Vegetarian Delight – with avocado, beets, mango, papaya and asparagus. Surprisingly, my favourite was actually the vegetarian!

The Threesome

Course #4 was the Ai Tofu – tofu, mushrooms, teriyaki sauce. I liked the sweetness from the teriyaki and since I’m a fan of mushrooms, I really enjoyed the dish.

Ai Tofu

Course #5 was the Basil Lamb Chop – baby lamb, eggplant, basil chili sauce. While I enjoyed the lamb and eggplant on their own, I didn’t particularly care for the sauce…but only because it had a licorice taste and I’m not a fan of licorice. There were others at the tasting who really enjoyed the sauce, so it’s just a matter of preference.

Basil Lamb Chop

Course #6 was called the Bacon which came with two components – 1) pork belly, carrot and pickled cucumber and 2) a creamy bacon roll. I’ll talk about the pork belly portion first… who doesn’t love pork belly? The pork belly was well cooked and was complimented nicely by the carrot puree.

As for the creamy bacon roll, it consisted of bacon, avocado, whipped cream and chocolate. To be honest, I couldn’t very much bacon or chocolate. It just tasted like a sweet roll to me. While there were many people at the tasting who enjoyed it, I wasn’t a huge fan.

Pork Belly & Creamy Bacon Roll

Course #7 was the Noka Chilean Sea Bass – with mango and miso, which turned out to be my favourite dish of the evening. The fish was nicely cooked and I loved the sweetness of the sauce from the mango. A bit hit!

Noka Chilean Sea Bass

For dessert, we had the Mochi & Sorbet – red bean, rice cake, strawberry. My favourite part of the dish was definitely the strawberry sorbet. After a large meal, I always like to finish off with a light and refreshing dish and the sorbet was exactly that.

Mochi & Sorbet

Overall, I had a great time at the tasting! If you find yourself hungry in the Annex, check Noka out out -they’ve got some great lunch and happy hour specials!

*This was a complimentary meal. The opinions in the post are my own.*

Noka Contemporary Japanese cuisine & sushi on Urbanspoon

  1. Emily (Reply) on Thursday 19, 2012

    Thanks for coming Jess! I don’t think we really had a chance to talk but I read your blog religiously on my lunch breaks =)

    • Jess (Reply) on Thursday 19, 2012

      No problem, thanks for inviting me! It was a great event. Hope to see you again soon 🙂