SPICE – Birch Cliff’s newest restaurant

Jan 12, 2018

Seafood paella at SPICE restaurant

By Regina McKenzie

There is a friendly warmth as you enter the door to SPICE, the newest restaurant in Birch Cliff at 1559 Kingston Rd., just west of Kildonan.

Your eyes are drawn to the vibrant red artwork hanging  on the walls and to the coloured lights gently casting different glows on the newly painted brick walls.

Spice is billed as “Mediterranean fusion” – part Italian, French, Spanish and Brazilian, reflecting the cultural heritage and training of owner Simone de Camargo.

Opening night dinner service at SPICE restaurant, 1559 Kingston Rd.

Spice was on our list of ‘must-try’ as my husband and I welcome new services to our long neglected neighbourhood. We gave it a test run on a wintry night in January.

Simone de Camargo (centre) with her children Sophia and Ivo, who also work at SPICE.

The restaurant is a labour of love for de Camargo who is a new resident to the area.

She trained as a chef in Brazil and France. Over a decade ago, after moving to Canada she set up a coffee shop and bakery in the Beach, Naturalis, on Queen St., east of Balsam Ave.

Two years ago, she decided to expand, starting her own restaurant – featuring  some long time family recipes.

On the advice of friends she looked east, buying a commercial building on the south side of Kingston Rd. east of Warden.

“They told me there were condos going in all along here, so I took a chance”  she told us.

We shared one of her signature Paella dishes. It was delicious – filled with shrimp and mussels and just the right amount of spice. There are meat and vegetarian versions as well.

While at first the $60 price (dinner for two) may be a surprise – the price is reasonable when we discovered it came with a tasty soup, salad, home-made hummus along with other appetizers.

Rib eye steak with ratatouille

The quality of the food was excellent and was so filling we took home enough for lunch the next day.  Our friends ordered the fish and lamb dishes which they enjoyed.

For desert my husband had the poached pear with ice cream. He tells me it was top notch. I can’t vouch for it only because he didn’t share it!

As we were finishing dinner, de Camargo chatted about her restaurant and the unexpectedly long journey to open it.

Initially she thought the renovations would take two months. Instead she encountered delays for city permits and a string of contractors who started jobs they didn’t finish.

When it finally opened in November, de Carmago says it was “very busy”. And this is very much a family business with her daughter Sofia and son Ivo also working at the restaurant.

We plan to return soon to sample the weekend Brunch which de Carmago launched early January.

Open Wed. to Sunday 5 – 11.

Weekend Brunch, Saturday-Sunday 9 to 3.

Scroll down for more photos.

Brazilian fish stew.


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