Minami Toronto is the latest project from Aburi Restaurants Canada, a restaurant group with multiple high-end casual locations famed for their ‘flame-seared’ Aburi style sushi. Minami Toronto introduces a drinks-focused venue that features Japanese-inspired cocktails, an expansive selection of sake, along with sophisticated sushi plates, bento boxes and bowls. The 4,600 s.f. interior includes a lounge bar and a main dining area.
DesignAgency’s team took cues from Minami Toronto’s location in the heart of the Entertainment District to create an interior that easily transitions from day to night, and one that makes use of every surface to convey a warm and contemporary aesthetic.
Entering through the vestibule to the Lounge Bar, guests encounter a mural on translucent glass by Japanese artist Hideki Kimura. Kimura’s dynamic art style is fresh and evocative, regularly featuring whimsical imagery of frogs, koi and lotus flowers, and is a fascinating combination of his background in Japan’s early rock music scene and his reverence for Japanese culture. Kimura’s hand painted murals can be found at a few of Aburi’s other locations such as Minami Vancouver, Miku Toronto, and Miku Vancouver. For Minami Toronto Kimura hand painted the mural and mailed his mural to Toronto where it was digitally scanned and applied onsite in the Bar Lounge and on the Dining Room’s feature wall.
The Lounge Bar is an intimate space that plays with sensuous materials, vibrant colours and dramatic lighting. A custom-designed installation by Moss and Lam Studio, incorporating 90 hanging pieces of diaphanous red and orange painted sheer fabric softly billows from the ceiling. Adding a sense of intimacy, movement and glow like flickering flames, the installation casts warmth over the wood tables, leather seating and the glass gantry bar with its sparkling brass detailing.
The Dining Room’s royal blue leather banquettes are lined with an arching backlit glazed screen that wraps diners in a breathtaking glow. Custom-designed orb lighting dance over seaweed green benches and chairs. Plants gently cascade from the service station, and Kimura’s schools of carp swim to meet Japanese maple leaves and stylistic cherry blossom branches. Warm cedar draws attention to the open kitchen, that treats diners to views of the sushi being made.
Minami Toronto is as of yet only open for take-out and delivery, but the space is clearly ready for guests and its culinary theatre to begin.