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Mar 25, 2010 09:21 AM

Segar (on Bayview)

Some good news here.
Only open a couple of months, this place (which several people have described as 'Indian' - but I don't agree) has already become a favourite of mine.
Let's be realistic - this is hardly a place that I'd drive across town for, but it's a strong neighbourhood place that provides excellent food at fair prices.
The menu is small - and each time I've been, some of the dishes have been 'not available today', which is a little annoying (at first), but reflects that the food is freshly bought and cooked.
I'd describe the food as 'mediterranean with Indian spices' - I don't think a neighbourhood place merits the term 'fusion'. But expect chicken, lamb, duck etc with a 'spice twist' (actually I'd prefer stronger spicing, but even the subdued spicing shows layers of flavour).
The crab & shrimp fritter appetizer was spectacular - totally non-greasy with a great texture. And the soups are also good.
And full marks for the small, but well-chosen, wine list - even included a Douro red (my current value proposiotion as a food wine). Full meals with a bottle of wine for around $120 (all-in for 2) and lunch with a glass of wine for around $55 (for 2). Of course, much less without wine!

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  1. The chef/owner is Sri Lankan, does the food appear to have any influence from that region? There is a website but nothing useful on it.

    Here is something else I found:

    Anyone for a Segar?

    Taking over the former location of Two Doors South on Bayview Avenue, Segar restaurant will offer up some inventive new cuisine and a funky interior that may be a welcome relief to area diners. Owned and operated by former Mildred Pierce chef Segar Kulasegarampillai, the space has undergone a massive renovation, including, well, a new kitchen. And that can’t be a bad thing.

    “It is spice route cuisine,” Kulasegarampillai explains, of the menu that will have entrees priced between $12 and $26. “All the spice route, including south India, Malabar Coast, plenty of exotic spices.” Expect a funky but minimalist decor with 32 seats and an atmosphere unlike anything else on the Leaside strip of Bayview. Segar is located at 1568 Bayview Ave., 416-485-1568

    Mildred Pierce
    99 Sudbury St, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodyDudey

      The spicing is consistent, but the food, in general, is 'mostly different'. The breads are more Indian than the usual Dosa's from Sri Lanka. Even the vegetarian dishes are pretty far from Sri Lankan (e.g. a "mushroom and carrot strudel with spinach" on the lunch menu).
      Just the spicing (moderate rather than hot) is reminiscent of Sri Lanka.
      But it's really all about the food - which is excellent - regardless of origin.

    2. Nice post, estufarian! Great description.

      I finally went to Segar for the first time, today for brunch. I was impressed! Also, I took note that they open before 11 am (10 am, I think?) on weekends.

      The brunch menu is limited, but everything sounded delicious and creative. They had lovely apps, and also had some egg dishes and main dishes. We went for the two egg dishes (there were only two, traditional with a twist). I had the omelette du jour: feta, olives, tomato, with greens & a cheddar/chive scone. The SO had the eggs benedict on a latke.

      I was unsure about ordering the omelette (I had eaten a feta/olive omelette at now defunct Small Talk cafe years ago, and did not like it: it had tasted like a pizza, but on egg). But this was terrific. It was beautifully prepared, delicate with a lightly crisped outside (almost like a crepe) and fluffy egg, with all ingredients nicely balanced, flavourful. The scone was small, diamond shaped, delicious and flaky. My SO enjoyed the Eggs Benny on the latke.

      Will definitely go back to try dinner sometime. There looks to be a Crab & Shrimp Cake (or something like that) appetizer on both the brunch & dinner menu that I'd like to try. Looks like a great new place!

      2 Replies
      1. re: balthazar

        I was back again last night (third visit). The menu is still changing as they find out what works.
        The Crab & Shrimp Cake is a MUST - one of my favourite dishes in Toronto right now.
        Last night I had the Beef Tenderloin (I rarely order beef - prefer other meats) but it was pretty good. The highlight was the potato gnocchi, which were perfectly cooked - again one of the best versions I've had.
        Only (slight) drawback was the wine by the glass - seems to be a 'smaller' pour than I would have expected. Better (by far) to go for a bottle.

        1. re: estufarian

          Sounds lovely! My mouth is watering thinking about the Crab & Shrimp Cake :)

      2. We've now been to Segar 3 times (a Wednesday night and two Friday nights) and each time it has been very good. I think it will become our neighbourhood go-to place. Went once with vegetarian daughter and they put together a really nice custom veggie plate for her main with lots of interesting things. Favorites include squash soup, fritters, duck breast (had it twice - served with a hot crispy dosa), and the lemon desert (lemon curd between two layers of light pastry sheets - light and not too big, not too sweet, just perfect). Only dish we weren't impressed with was the chicken livers - bit overcooked and not that flavourful. Very gracious and charming service, and really good prices. Hope they survive, two of the three times it was not very busy.

        1568 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: conmac

          I've been to Segar several times since their opening as I live a short walk away and I think its fabulous! Segar himself is always warm and welcoming as are Paul and Trevor in the front of the house. I've introduced a number of friends to Segar and all have commented that the flavours are simply outstanding! It is truly a gem and I hope to continue dining here in years to come. Last night they offered a six course tasting menu to mark 6 months in the business and every dish was tantalizing - some I'd had before from their regular menu and some were new to my husband and I. At $45 with $20 for some truly inspired wine pairings, this six course menu was a steal (and their regular menu is great value too)! Segar's soups are delectable and he is a deft hand at both fish and breast cooked beautifully juicy and pink with a piquant ginger date compote, halibut moist and flaky, scallops perfectly caramelized. And I enjoy that his main courses are always atop an interesting melange of vegetables. Starters of plump mussels bathed in lemongrass, kaffir lime and coconut broth and piri piri grilled calamari and prawn are favourites. I have been 3 times for lunch and have been just as impressed each time....coconut ginger prawns on a daal crepe, rock shrimp and crab salad with Israeli couscous and, most recently, the Spice Route Express, a more sophisticated take on the "soup, salad & sandwich combo", comprised of a choice of daily soup (I had a hard time selecting between the spicy coconut chicken and the melon and cucumber gazpacho and was treated to BOTH), a small green salad and a delicate flatbread stuffed with grilled steak, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and more - all for $13. Delicious, healthy and great value. Segar, Paul and Trevor, I will be seeing you again soon!

          1568 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

          1. re: gorge_ous

            I was there too.
            Indeed it was sensational value - under $150 (before tip for 2) for 6 courses and 5 wines. By far the most I've ever spent there and worth every penny.
            Only reason I didn't write it up was that it was only available for the one evening (and circulated to people on their e-mail list).
            Piri-piri dish was superb. Soup (two - one hot and one cold) was sensational, and the meat dishes similarly excellent.
            This place is on my regular rotation.

        2. Good food but the whole experience is below par.....the room is cold and uncomfortable....

          1 Reply
          1. re: section 6 photography

            I was there last night and had no problems with temperature or comfort. It was also the busiest I've seen it.

          2. Sounds interesting, we've walked by many times on that Leaside strip. You talked about wine being expeinsive... Do you know if they allow BYO?

            1 Reply
            1. re: syoung

              Wine is fairly reasonable - $33 to about $50 IIRC.
              Don't know about BYOW.
              I'll ask next time I'm there - or better yet take in the forms to apply for the BYOW endorsement - there's no fee - just have to fill out the forms.
              I usually have the Portuguese Quinta do Crasto -great value at $33.