Cuban food — and music — where??

Luis & band at Bloom, Oct. 11

My neighbourhood of Bloor West Village is not known for particularly interesting restaurants, and certainly not for live music. But things have begun changing recently, at least in one case.

Bloom — a restaurant until recently under the same ownership of the Bloor/Yonge Focaccia — after a somewhat promising start, had (in my opinion) regressed to the generally uninspiring, and comfortable niche that seems to work in this neighbourhood.

But last year, Focaccia’s chef, Cuban-born Pedro Quintanilla moved to Bloom, and added a bit of Cuban cooking to the menu.

More recently, the restaurant was purchased by Luis Mario Ochoa, the Cuban-born Toronto musician, who has added a real Cuban spark to the restaurant, and the menu has (excuse the pun) bloomed. It now offers more Cuban menu items and influence, and it has begun a program of 3-course, $25 prix-fixe menus focusing each month on a different cuisine from Latin America.

More relevant to this website, Luis has begun offering live music there. (Monthly so far — but who knows? If there is support… more often?). I’ve recently been there for nights featuring Luis on guitar backing up singer Laura Fernandez (who will be opening for the great guitarist Eliades Ochoa on Nov. 3 at the Music Hall), and this week with Luis’s own group, Cuba Tradicional.

I can recommend both the food and the music!

(Apologies for the photo, taken yesterday from a cell phone).