In the beginning, Toronto’s club scene had two gods: Charles Khabouth and Nick Di Donato. After years of one-upmanship (properties like Khabouth’s Ultra competing with Di Donato’s C Lounge and so forth), the rivals joined forces to create Queen West’s energy drink–drenched hot spot, Tattoo Rock Parlour, an instant classic among the head-banging majority. For their next collaboration, the gods turned their focus from the spiky hair of Queen Street to the spiked heels of King West—and they looked to the Far East for inspiration.
The new enterprise, Spice Route, is adorned with artwork and accoutrements befitting a Thai palace (or an episode of Entourage): a giant, hand-carved Buddha statue towers over the host station; wall hangings depict crumbling ancient ruins; and a 16-foot waterfall divides the bar. A plush private dining room is sure to host many local luminaries in the coming weeks. In the long run, though, expect the tube tops to outnumber top-notch clientele. This is a resto-bar, after all, which means despite Winlai Wong’s (formerly of Monsoon) delectable Indochinese menu—wasabi-crusted shrimp, Kobe carpaccio, Shanghai edamame salad—it won’t take long for killer cocktails and DJ Julien Nolan’s pulsing dance beats to scare the foodies back to Splendido. On the bright side, a sun-trapping side patio featuring additional ponds and booths may be the closest thing to heaven this side of Spadina.