Most of us have seen MasterChef Canada judge Alvin Leung rip into competitor (and eventually, winner) Eric Chong for unappetizing dishes on the show. Now, the two have teamed up for R&D (due to open in the first week of April), their new Asian-inspired restaurant in Toronto's Chinatown, which incorporates Leung’s Michelin-starred chops (earned from his restaurant in Hong Kong, Bo Innovation) and Hong Kong-style cuisine, as well as Chong’s Malaysian roots.
A nod to their "rebel and demon" personas, as well as a reference to their research and development style, the name is the perfect product for a collaboration between these two engineers.
“Just as this country calls itself a mosaic of cultures, so too does our menu," says Leung. "We combine the flavours and aromas of our Asian heritage with modern twists on our favourite Canadian dishes.
The menu at R&D includes a range of Chinese comfort food and dim sum-influenced dishes: CSB (or char siu bao), which has Chinese barbecue pork, milk bun and Mexican toppings; the lobster chow mein; Grandpa’s fun guo (dumping), filled with chicken and black truffle; and Taiwanese oyster frittata.
“I grew up dreaming of cooking. I’d watch my grandfather in his restaurant and I knew this was what I wanted to do,” said Chong.
Last, but not least, there are the cocktails. With such an exciting East-meets-West food menu, you know they’re not just going to phone it in with a list of Crantinis and Cosmos. Its selection includes a bubble tea-style, toasted coconut and chai spiced pina colada--a perfect way to capture the playful and experimental approach of R&D.