Shiso Tree Cafe
Address: 3160 Steeles Ave. Unit 1. Markham, ON, L3R 4G9 *Located in J-Town*
Phone: (905) 479 – 9319
Tucked in the hidden J Town Alley in Markham, Shiso Tree Cafe serve Japanese style pasta and comfort foods. We were welcomed by humble, polite and relatively shy Japanese waitresses, who smiled warmly at everyone.
The restaurant was quite busy for a Tuesday evening, filled with youths, young families and full grown families. This cafe is quite a hub for different age groups to set up gatherings, dates and reunions. The place was relaxing and decorated with simple fixtures, felt quite down to earth and homey. Piano music played through the speakers, and laughter from different tables filled the lighthearted environment.
I like the homemade Japanese vinegarette or salad dressing, had a hint of sourness and sweetness to it. The bread was toasted crispy and had a strong garlic-butter flavour.
Miso Vongole ($14) is a spaghetti made with miso based sake ginger sauce, served with fresh Manila clams, garnished with nori and green onions. Together with nori and green onions, the spaghetti had a spirit, giving it additional crunchy texture, flavours and a portion of vegetables. However, the spaghetti was extremely salty and was sitting in oil or excessive melted butter. The clams were fresh and chewy, had a slight hint of the sake. The sauce itself was not that strong to begin with. I barely sensed it in the dish. I assume the chefs used the sauce to make the clams and then when it was cooked, the residual liquid was mixed into the spaghetti. However, the butter overthrew the flavours. So, clams were good but spaghetti was not.
Wafu Seafood Spaghetti ($18) has fresh clams, shrimp, squid in shoyu and dashi sauce, garnished with yuzu, micro daikon, nori, shiso and green onion. It had a similar appearance to the miso vongole, garnished with nori and green onions mainly but with a spoonful of shiso and yuzu on top, which has added a slight tangy flavour to the spaghetti, making it less salty. I definitely enjoyed the wide array of flavours this dish had. A generous amount of fresh seafood was served and was done to perfect texture. Therefore, I liked this dish more than miso vongole.
Presentation was beautiful, organized and aligned properly. It gave me the feel that the chef and assistants cared about the quality of their food and the happiness or satisfaction the food can bring to the eaters. But I feel like I am the only one who was not overly impressed by the taste of the meal. Nonetheless, Shiso Tree Cafe is a place to experience Japanese style pastas and a great quiet place for studying or gathering.
Food 3 / 5