Blowfish has been one of Toronto’s best spots for fine Japanese fusion for over a decade now and last week we had the chance to visit their newly unveiled re-design which features a brand new cocktail bar called BarFish just off the side of the King West hot spot. The restaurants original bar has been transformed into a sushi bar while the BarFish side is a long intimate room with a bar spanning nearly the entire room offering the post-work crowd a new place to meet for a pre-dinner snack and perfectly crafted cocktail.
At the helm of the varied BarFish menu, which focuses on sake and cocktails, is award-winning mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda. His unique approach to mixology has kept Blowfish on map for years now, so it only seems fitting he would be able to take his Japanese-inspired approach to the next level at BarFish. The menu features cocktails, both classic and seasonal, including Pomegranate Saketini (a mix of sake, razz rum, Prosecco, fresh pomegranate and pineapple juices), Caribou Crossing (vodka, Cointreau, house lime cordial, grapefruit bitters, jalepeño black pepper, grapefruit syrup, yuzu and grapefruit juice), and an Ardbeg Old Fashioned over on the more classic side of the list.
The newest menu additions boasts a house made junmai, a Japanese rice wine infused with yuzu and pomegranate sakes, as well as a peach-infused nigori unfiltered sake.
We had a chance to sit down with Nepulangoda to chat about one of his signature creations for BarFish, The Cucumber Dream. A gorgeous peach gin-based cocktail served in a couple, that combines Calamansi juice, aperol, citrus, and bitters for a refreshing combination we just couldn’t get enough of on our last visit.
“It’s a nice palate cleanser,” said Nepulangoda, “perfect to work up an appetite for a meal because of its savoury flavours and inclusion of the light aperitif Aperol.” Luckily the cocktail won’t be going anywhere soon because it “works year-round and is refreshing enough that you’ll continue to see it on our menu into the spring.”
We can’t wait to continue enjoying it well through the winter and spring, because sometimes we just want to pretend it’s summer, even when it’s snowing out.
We highly encourage you to go in and try The Cucumber Dream for yourself at BarFish, and if you’re adventurous enough, Nepulangoda has been gracious enough to share his recipe with us so you can try it for yourself at home.
The Cucumber Dream
1.5oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
½oz Calamansi Juice
2oz Lime Juice
1oz Falernum Syrup
1 dash Lemon Bitters
Muddle three slices of cucumber in the base of shaker, add ingredients in and double strain and garnish with cilantro.
Perfect Blowfish menu items to pair with this cocktail are their giant ebi shooters, spicy tuna on crispy sushi rice, their spicy rock shrimp and their one-bite wagyu gyoza.
Visit BarFish at 668 King St. W in Toronto. To make reservations click here.