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Little Sister Indonesian Food Bar

This place has opened (little sister of Quince), anyone been? no menu on their website

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  1. Stopped in on Friday. Good cocktails. The neighbourhood needs a place for a good drink. Food is mostly snacks - very spicy and a bit $$$ shrimp cups are (2) are over $12. They will need time to figure out pricing I think! Go for a cocktail.

    1. Went on Friday evening as well. Great decor, nice atmosphere, and friendly staff. The cocktails were excellent: I tried three, all of which were spicy but light, and at $12 each reasonable. Tried a lot from their snack menu, and the thing I use to judge an Indo/Malaysian resto - the peanut sauce - was good. The best I had: mustard greens, grilled in kecap manis with fried shallots. This was amazing. The chicken satay was nice too (indonesian style - ground chicken rather than chunks of chicken), but the swordfish satay was disappointing (sauce was too powerful and the fish pretty tasteless). The shrimp wraps - the dish referred to below - was yummy (we wound up ordering two), but pricey.

      Had a long chat with the chef: looks like they're just figuring out what should be on the menu, and that they'll make revisions as time passes. Tried to convince him to serve Gado Gado, and we were able to walk away with a bag of their special kecap manis sauce.

      Good addition to the neighbourhood. Will definitely go back, especially for their drinks.

      5 Replies
      1. re: milhuas3

        Cocktails! I'm definitely in and hoping to trying this place sometime soon.

        I'm confused about your comment about Indonesian style satay being made out of ground chicken. Do you know what region serves it that way? I'm not familiar with that at all from anywhere I've had satay - it's always been solid pieces of meat... If anything, i would take Indonesian-style to mean that each person is going to order 30 satays!

        1. re: sumashi

          I think I had it like that in Bali. Google images for Bali Satay seem to confirm. But I realize there's a Balinese cuisine distinct from Indonesian.
          Edit: the menu calls it "Satay lilit - Balinese spiced chicken". This place looks good!

          1. re: julesrules

            Michael and Jennifer did a research trip to Indonesia when they were starting to put Little Sister together and they went to Bali and Sulawesi and one other area, they weren't able to go to Java/Jakarta because of volcanic activity at the time so there's fair bit of Balinese influence as a result.

            1. re: julesrules

              Ah, thanks! I'm most familiar with sate from around Java.

              1. re: sumashi

                They also now have a chicken satay that's pieces of meat. It replaces the fish satay.

        2. Thanks - how many skewers for each Satay order?
          Their menu is on the FB page


          4 Replies
          1. re: Teep

            Hi Teep!
            Each $6 satay order has 3 skewers. The croquettes come as a pair.

            My friend and I enjoyed our dinner at Little Sister tonight. I was one of the first customers this evening when I arrived at 5:15 pm (the restaurant opens at 4 pm). By the time we were leaving at 7:30 pm, the restaurant was almost full, with a few seats still available at the bar.

            We tried the chicken satay, pork satay, croquettes, nasi goreng, krupuk (shrimp chips), fried cauliflower salad, ayam panggang (grilled chicken main) and coconut pudding with coconut sugar. While I liked all the dishes we tried, I especially liked the pork satay with peanut sauce, fried cauliflower salad and coconut pudding. Nice amount of heat to many of the dishes, which I'd describe as roughly equivalent heatwise to 3-5 chilis on the Linda's/Salad King chili scale. There was also a green sambal and red sambal, offered as condiments to add to the various dishes. The service was friendly.

            There were a couple specials tonight, including a Market Price fish dish featuring halibut, if I remember correctly.

            Another guest's shrimp coconut curry looked very good.

            John Szabo selected the wines for their wine list, including some Gewurztraminers and a GrĂ¼ner Veltliner. There was even a wine from Limnos, Greece, which I haven't seen on any other menus in Toronto. estufarian, I think you're going to like this place.

            8 dishes and 2 cocktails (Ubud Hangout and Tamarind Sour) came to around $86, including tax, before tip. I found the prices fair and similar to what I'd be paying at other restaurants located nearby.

            I will definitely be back sometime soon.


            Cocktails and Beer

            1. re: prima

              Thanks for the heads-up.
              Will definitely check it out.

              1. re: estufarian

                And I did exactly that.
                IMO one of the better places along that strip of Yonge - but not without some issues.
                Several service 'bugs' that annoyed me, that could have been ironed out.
                NOT all items on the menu were available - OK I understand that, but PLEASE tell me when the menu is provided - NOT when I order. And I had chosen (and ordered) a glass of wine to go with that dish - which I then changed. And it doesn't matter what the dish is - that should apply to any restaurant that has a menu.
                And, like you, there was a special - which they only told me about AFTER I had ordered. What's the point of telling me then?

                But the food was indeed above average, and mostly good.
                The pangsit (my substitute dish) was very tasty, although quite greasy - but that's where the flavour was. My substitute wine (the tempranillo) fell flat with this dish - seemed to have a bit of a tarry aftertaste, so I'd avoid this in future.
                The cauliflower salad was excellent, my favourite dish. But the description was potentially misleading - the cauliflower was 'fried' - did this mean it would be served hot or cold? I've certainly had hot ingredients in a salad before.
                As it turns out, it was served at the same time as my main - the tamarind braised pork (and I matched with the Gruner Veltliner - an excellent choice).

                The pork was perfectly prepared, good 'toothsomeness' and no fat or gristle - but the sauce was somewhat 1-dimensional, with barely a hint of tamarind's typical acidity. But the two sambals got a good workout.

                Total bill $60 (for one).
                Worth trying again - but I'll go with AmuseGirl next time and try more dishes.

                1. re: estufarian

                  And I have now done that.
                  Service problems gone (mostly). Food very enjoyable. IMO probably the 'best'(defined as the one I'm most likely to return to)restaurant in that strip between Davisville & Eglinton.

            1. re: roostermom

              Going Saturday night! Looking forward to this.

            2. Had dinner here Tuesday night. This place has a great vibe, smashing decor and terrific food. We especially enjoyed the shrimp lettuce wraps and the pork belly.

              1. Is it just a coincidence that the ad I am getting over to the right is for "Big Brother"?

                1. Go. Just go. Really.

                  Jennifer and Michael are wonderful.

                  The peanut sauce with tHe chicken satay and shrimp chips is very flavourful. The cauliflower with "bhel puri" type puffs was terrific, Also terrific to an incredibly "picky" Indian friend.

                  The chicken from the main part of the menu was excellent flavour. It could have benefitted from a minute more cooking.

                  Nasi goreng - perfect. The curry shrimp was standout Stand out. The chicken shredded taco was ok, but not sure I would order again.

                  Mr. Vuitton and I are going back on Wednesday and really (really) looking forward to,it.

                  Can't really talk about price, as i was there with three close friends and there was a lot of alcohol involed on our end before Mr Vuittonn hauled me out :D

                  Food was great

                  So, go. Go.

                  1. Do they take reservations? If not, how busy might they be at 7pm on a weekend?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hal2010

                      They aren't taking reservations yet but they plan to soonish

                      Based on last night it will probably be on the busy side but not full at that time.

                      1. re: hal2010

                        Not yet; they will eventually.
                        I'd say, last night it seemed about 3/4 full the entire time. I think there was always room for 2.

                      2. That Semur Java is bomb. I could eat that for days. Clove spicing is aggressive.

                        Service is a little slow but I don't really care this early on.

                        1. Went this past Saturday around 7:30. No problem grabbing a table. Great food, service was very good, flavors were spot on. My only minor complaint, and this is a personal preference, is that the meat in the stewed and braised dishes could be a bit fattier, but that's just me.

                          All in all Little Sister is a great addition to the neighborhood and I'll definitely be back.

                          1. Finally made it there. While the meal was enjoyable, one of my friends who lived in Java until his teens, and whose mother still cook Indonesian food at home, found nothing that tasted authentic, except the shrimp chips and peanut sauce - which he suspects as being made from packaged stuff.

                            While I don't have his expectations, I did find a few items a tad bland, especially the cauliflower salad and the atjar. And with a small menu like that, we will not likely return.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Teep

                              It's been discussed before but I will repeat, they aren't trying to do the Javanese version of Indonesian food, the inspiration is Bali and Siluwasi.

                              1. re: Teep

                                I attended one of the Rijstaffel dinners they offer at Quince a couple years back and it was honestly not very good. The food was poorly executed and a lot of overlap in sauces and flavours between dishes. I went with a large group, some of which were Dutch, so I was really looking forward to getting a similar flavor bomb I experienced in restos in Amsterdam. We all agreed it was pretty mediocre.

                                There were also service issues, and other issues Chowhound won't let me discuss on this board.

                                In any case, I hope Little Sister can deliver a better food and service experience than Quince did.

                                1. re: BlackMambaSommelier

                                  I can assure you Teep, that nothing is packaged. I've been to the preview tastings and watched the food prepared.
                                  I do find this conversation over 'authentic' soooo tedious. Am I the only one? Within any given country/region, even the inhabitants don't always agree on how something should be done. I don't understand the need to argue authenticity-

                                  1. re: nummanumma

                                    Looking at the cocktails and such I don't even think authentic is a goal here... inspired by, more likely. Frankly, I didn't actually fall in love with Balinese food when I was there, so I'm fine with it!

                                    1. re: nummanumma

                                      While it makes me a bit sad to see that Warung Kampung didn't get nearly as much love as Little Sister seems to be (except mainly from the Indonesian population it seemed), I'm happy to see that Indonesian food is getting some recognition. It usually gets lumped together with Malaysian, sometimes even Thai and other cuisines. And although I can easily get Indonesian food at home and from family friend gatherings, I'm looking forward to trying this place, eating yummy food and having a good night out.That said, I can understand having a discussion about authenticity.

                                      Small correction to bytepusher's post : The island is Sulawesi.

                                      1. re: sumashi

                                        Didn't someone post that the people behind Warung Kampung were looking for another location? Do you know what is going on there?

                                        1. re: radiopolitic

                                          Yeah, that was me. Last I heard, they were looking to rent a space in a plaza near Midland.

                                        2. re: sumashi

                                          I never tried the food from Warung Kampung but I had told and Indonesian friend about it before they closed. He got to try the food as they catered for the Indonesian Consulate, he said it was not very good.

                                          1. re: foodyDudey

                                            I suppose to each their own taste! My parents grew up in East Java and visited Warung Kampung a handful of times to support them. She told me some of the flavours were really spot on how it was back home in particular the random special regional dishes they would make on weekends.

                                  2. I went to a menu tasting of Little Sister a little while ago and really loved most of the dishes I tried. That cauliflower salad is fantastic with the textural contrast of the crisped rice. The Balinese chicken satay lillet was delicious and I enjoyed the bits of coconut in it. The beef rendang that night was fantastic and had a great burn. There was a braised beef called semur djawa (now labeled semur java on the menu) that had this amazing deep, rich sauce that was reminiscent of a Mexican mole sauce. Most of the dishes had great depth of flavours and I loved all the varieties of spices that aren't really being served anywhere else in Toronto.

                                    I enjoyed the cocktails with their SE Asian twists and the Gruner Veltliner was a great pairing with the spicier dishes.

                                    I can't wait to get to the restaurant now that they've had their official opening!

                                    Some pictures in Toronto Life yesterday:


                                    1. It's also a fun place, great cocktails.

                                      1. Had a delicious early dinner at Little Sister tonight. Enjoyed the beef croquettes, shrimp curry, beef rendang tacos, shrimp chips, cauliflower salad, pangsit, Bali style chicken satay ( which contained more spice and coconut than on my first visit). Also liked the Little Brother cocktail.

                                        1. Went there. The music was playing at an ear splitting level. Left.

                                            1. Went on a Monday night. Menu design on cardboard looks good, original and non fussy. The restaurant felt a lot like something Ossington but more spacious (- This is a good thing!) Music was not loud and restaurant 1/3 full. Service was polite, knowledgeable and timely, probably because it wasn't very busy.

                                              Kintamani Punch and Little Brother cocktails were fruity and not too sweet. We tried the Chicken Satay, the Beef Taco, mustard greens, Semur Java, Babi Pangang and the coconut pudding dessert. We were really impressed having read mixed reviews. You could taste the multitude of spices and ingredients needed for this cuisine and everything was very flavourful.

                                              My only experience with Indonesian food was a couple years ago at Sama Sebo in Amsterdam and I enjoyed this more :)

                                              1. The Globe and Mail gave it 3 stars this weekend.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: hal2010

                                                  I'm glad the Globe gave Little Sister 3 stars, but I'm even more glad I had a chance to visit a few times before the Globe review.
                                                  It's always nice to read when pimentdespelette is in agreement with some of his fellow Chowhounds.

                                                2. Had a fabulous dinner at Little Sister last night with a bunch of friends. We ordered the whole menu (except the tacos, which for us are the less interesting items on the menu). Everything was delicious, but if I had to narrow down my future ordering, my picks would be:

                                                  - the cauliflower salad
                                                  - the beef croquettes
                                                  - the Satay Lilit
                                                  - the Semur Java (braised beef)
                                                  - the Babi Panggang (roasted pork belly perfection)
                                                  - the Nasi Goreng
                                                  - the coconut panna cotta

                                                  I could order these items over and over and be happy. And I could develop an addiction for the Ubud Hangout cocktail -- a perfect balance of spicy, herbal and just a mild sweetness. Awesome with the food.