Kibo Secret Garden has opened in Yorkville. The spinoff from the brand’s original concept, Kibo Sushi House, imagines a more luxurious approach to the Japanese culinary experience; here Kibo is reborn as an omakase event, a night of memorable surprises and fish flourishes. And I do need to emphasize flourish, some nigiri comes crowned with *actual* gold flakes.

kibo secret garden

Unlike most restaurants, Kibo Sushi House has thrived under pandemic restrictions. Sushi makes for a popular takeout medium and with their 23 locations in and around GTA, coupled with two Kibo branded markets and two more locations out west in Calgary, Kibo is expanding. It’s clear business is booming, and with no slowdown for COVID-19, it won’t be slowing down soon either- Kibo Sushi House was named the highest grossing sushi sales on UberEats for all of North America. That’s a lot of fish.

Bo Seo, CEO & Founder partnered up with Simeon Papailias. Both are heavyweights in the real estate business, and while Simeon manages the property side of things, Bo’s passion lays in the culinary side of the business. He’s really excited for this new venture and was downright giddy as he setup the couch scene up front. He acknowledges that it’s unusual these days to have a big, splashy opening, replete with jazz band and goodie bags (thank you btw!) these days. But he also notes that there is no better time for *anything* good, life is meant to be enjoyed, and while uncertainty amounts for most of our collective daily anxiety, Bo knows this will eventually blow over. Live in the moment, control what you can, and don’t fester on what you can’t.

kibo secret garden

He’s living his best life, and why not? He’s taken the utmost caution to ensure the health and safety of his team- all Kibo Sushi Houses remain open for takeout and delivery only as of end of September. He’s installed oversized protective plexi-glass around tables and staff wore masks, properly, and gloves too. Hand sanitizer is a staple on each table by the soy sauce. It was abundantly clear that they’re taking all the necessary precautions to keep their guests safe. And that’s a good thing, because depending on course you charter, you may be here for a while. Our this particular evening spanned a stomach-stretching 18 courses. From hearty Kabocha (sweet pumpkin rice soup) to Black Sea Bream from Turkey, or Amberjack from Japan, it was a menu that bucked the traditional Toronto trends (no Cali rolls in sight!). Sake pairings with the Sashimi Platter deserved its own course, with some dry ice pageantry, and the Surf and Turf Platter was also a spectacle of plating precision, with Wagyu Beef and plump Lobster tail. The nigiri courses, which of course there are many, are served tableside, with each server not only explaining the fish, and its origin, but also the subtle nuances of the flavour, texture and various garnishes- including pickled wasabi, yuzu, and yes, aforementioned gold flakes. With a mandate to only serve fish within 24 hours of its catch, Kibo Secret Garden is crafting a sushi experience that will absolutely dazzle even the most staunch sushi lovers.

kibo secret garden

From full on 20-course omakase dinners (with a very special promo for October only – $100) to slender 15 course lunches ($60 also for October only), Kibo Secret Garden is an exquisite and memorable meal, perfect for popping your COVID cherry, but if you’re still squeamish about dining in, Kibo Sushi House is the next best thing.

kibo secret garden

With a Japanese interpretation that means Hope 希望 kibō couldn’t come at a better time. Whether you’re ready or waiting, hope is an important emotional antidote to these tricky times. Somethings you just gotta roll with…

Huge thank you to Kibo Secret Garden for hosting. All photos by Libby Roach.
Reservations can be made online, by phone at 416.519.4580, or by email at kibosecretgarden@gmail.com