What to Order at Rose City Kitchen

By Suresh Doss  |  March 13, 2014

The latest food trucker to join the brick-and-mortar club is Shontelle Pinch, owner of the roaming eatery Gourmet Bitches. Her first foray into restaurants, Rose City Kitchen, comes in the form of a snack bar on Queen West that features Middle Eastern fare. It's a slight departure from slinging Balinese chicken tacos from a small window on the streets of Toronto, but one that has Pinch beaming with excitement.

"I've always wanted to do something like this," says Pinch. "I wanted to showcase what I can do with Middle Eastern food, Jordanian, Egyptian, Moroccan. I also wanted to showcase my sauces." No doubt: Pinch is the sauce queen, having created a variety of hot sauces and harissas that regularly make an appearance on the food truck. 

The restaurant's menu is straightforward, a small selection of stuffed pitas designed for the health-conscious eater. Influenced by the history of rose-red city Petra as a spice trading post, each pita is loaded with a variety of vegetables, house-made harissa, and spices. Each pita can be customized by adding your favourite protein (choose from chicken, steak, falafel, halloumi cheese). Here are six must-try dishes to explore when you stop into Rose City Kitchen.

406 Queen Street W., 416-603-8102

  • RCK Original

    The most popular sandwich on the board is filled with hummus, tabouleh, carrots and French fries. A garlic oil is drizzled on the pita and it's sauced with a sweet and slightly spicy cherry harissa dressing.

  • Moroccan

    The pita is stuffed with couscous, red onions, chickpeas, tomatoes, almonds and dried apricots. A semi-spicy housemade harissa brings it all together. 

  • RCK Salad

    Fans of Pinch's Gourmet Bitches truck will be happy to hear that the popular kale salad is on the menu at the restaurant too. Pinch has slightly tweaked the salad: "I wanted to include romaine. So we mixed kale and romaine along with some red onion, cucumbers, tomatoes and sumac." The salad is mixed with a tahini-based dressing and is topped with deep-fried carrots. 

  • Egyptian

    Best paired with marinated steak, the Egyptian-themed pita has a confit puree of eggplant, onions, lemon and garlic mixed with chickpeas.  

  • Lebanese

    The key to this simple sandwich is the emulsified garlic sauce, which packs a wallop. Load up with some falafel and hot sauce and you have a winner. 

  • RCK Poutine

    Rose City pays homage to the classic Canadian dish. It's a gravy-free version with French fries tossed in a mix of Middle Eastern spices and then sauced with a hummus aioli, and finished with tabbouleh and shredded halloumi.