Location: 217 Geary Avenue, Toronto
I wasn’t sure which country this would fall under. Parallel’s website describes itself as “Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean,” which doesn’t exactly narrow things down. I ordered shakshuka, and Wikipedia lists Libya first in the list of countries where this dish is served. So sure, Libya it is.
Parallel is a new restaurant from the people behind Ozery Bakery (which sells some good stuff, FYI). They also make and sell their own tahini, which features heavily in most of the dishes on their menu. You can see the very impressive looking machine they use to crush the sesame seeds at the back of the restaurant.
I ordered the hammshuka, which is shakshuka that’s served on a bed of freshly-made hummus.
It was very, very good. The hummus was odd; not surprisingly, the tahini flavour was front-and-centre. The lemon was almost imperceptible, and if there was any garlic at all, I couldn’t taste it. It was subtle and unlike any hummus I’ve ever had, but it grew on me.
Better was the shakshuka (which, for the initiated, is a dish in which eggs are baked in a thick tomato sauce). It had a rich, garlicky flavour, and the eggs were cooked perfectly. It was topped with a very liberal amount of good-quality extra virgin olive oil — enough to give the dish EVOO’s distinctive nutty flavour.
I ordered it with roasted eggplant (other add-ons include goat cheese and roasted peppers), which turned out to be a wise choice. The eggplant was smoky and amazing, and complimented the shakshuka perfectly.