Mini Empire

Mini Empire by Steven Sandor Big changes are afoot for the oldest brand in Richard Lim’s mini restaurant empire, which also includes Wildflower and East. In 2015, the Lazia brand will expand with a new Leduc location. And the restaurant, which is known for its modern Asian-fusion dishes, has been…

Mini Empire

Big changes are afoot for the oldest brand in Richard Lim’s mini restaurant empire, which also includes Wildflower and East.

In 2015, the Lazia brand will expand with a new Leduc location. And the restaurant, which is known for its modern Asian-fusion dishes, has been revamped by executive chef Jimmy Ng.

Lim says that only 17 items were retained from Lazia’s old 70-item menu. Fifteen new items were added, and it’s clear that while Asian fusion is still a component of what Lazia does, it’s no longer its rason d’tre.

Locally sourced produce is now a big part of Lazia’s menu, and it comes out in the kale salad; the kale is baked till crisp, then served with goat cheese, different varieties of beets and a homemade ice-wine vinaigrette. It’s one part earthy, one part sweet.

The burrata cheese, served with toast points made from house-baked bread, is creamy and is wonderfully accented by sweet tomato chutney. With prosciutto and a peppery arugula salad, it’s a meal in itself.

Locally sourced duck eggs are served with “candied” bacon – that is, cubes of bacon prepared with maple syrup – and grilled asparagus. It’s a fantastic brunch dish that you can have at lunch or dinner.

The Berkshire pork is of a local variety that Ng feels is full of flavour. It comes in a chop that’s brined before being cooked sous-vide and finished on the grill. Served with a concentrated apricot glaze with marinated peaches, it’s homey and adventurous at the same time.

But Asian? Might be a stretch.

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