First Look: Le Ti Colibri, Kensington Market’s new spot for French Carribean cuisine
By Karolyne Ellacott
Saltfish fritters, $4.25, and a cup of sorrel juice, $3.50 (Images: Karolyne Ellacott)
Translating into ‘small hummingbird’ in French Creole, Le Ti Colibri is one of Toronto’s first eateries devoted entirely to French Caribbean cuisine. The project of boyfriend-girlfriend team Matthias Laurin (Fressen, Urban Herbivore) and Kristel Procida, Kensington Market’s newest haunt offers up food straight from the islands.
Both Laurin and Procida have Carribean roots, but were raised in France before individually moving to Toronto for its vibrancy — and for its relative proximity to the islands. With few signs of French Carribean cuisine to be found here (though Montreal does have a couple of spots), the duo thought it was time to introduce something fresh to the scene.
Laurin admits that some patrons are confusing the newly-opened joint for a Jamaican one due to its brightly coloured walls and island feel. But while the food showcases spices that are similar to the ones found in that reggae paradise, Colibri focuses on the cuisines of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Both of the French-speaking islands blend Caribbean heat with some French technique — such as a béchamel sauce with coconut milk rather than traditional milk.
So far, the most popular menu item is the Creole burger, otherwise known as the bokit ($7-$7.50). A post-bar fave in Guadeloupe, the sandwich features a deep fried bun stuffed with lettuce, tomato and your pick of protein, including spicy shredded saltfish or tuna. Smaller dishes include a Creole quiche starring tuna baked with coconut milk, onion and spices ($4.99), while avocado mixed with saltfish and cassava is a typical Martinique breakfast ($5.50).
The grub is predomintantly takeout-oriented, but an upcoming front patio will soon complement the back patio as an ideal place to sit back and dream of the island life.
Le Ti Colibri, 291 Augusta Ave., 416-925-2223