Oh, you are going to like this place. It’s on a great corner of Harbord Street, a couple doors down from the Harbord Room, it’s restaurant relative. I have been a huge fan of Cory Vitiello for years, and I am thrilled that his second restaurant is also a big hit!!
It looks very plain from the outside, but it is really cool inside with neat coloured banquettes that are comfortable to hang out in – and if you drink, the bar is big, and fully stocked.
Even though some at my table don’t eat meat, two of us shared their selection of house cured meats, terrines and patés, mustards and pickled stuff. The meats were interesting and they were plated beautifully on a wooden slab, lots of small teeny things I had never tried before with neat textures, and I liked it all. My favourite thing on the board was actually the fiddleheads – and their housemade pickles. I just realized that I didn’t eat the mustards, I’m not sure how that happened since I love mustards, but they looked great. I guess I was distracted with all of the great things to try and savour – next time!
We also had breads, olives and almonds – the almonds were incredible – the flavour simply exploded in my mouth. I wish I had a bowl of those to snack on right now!
We also shared, as a table, a generous selection of flatbreads, foccacia, breadsticks and bomba – the bomba had eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, olive oil and possibly some other things. I must say, that I do love mushrooms, but I am not normally fond of those other veggies, although in this chopped mixture, they all tasted really great. I could go for some of that now too. Frankly, I could go for this whole meal again right now!
We asked a LOT of questions of our really nice waiter before ordering, who I had known from another restaurant before. And, it was incredible that everyone we asked a question to knew all of the answers – right down to what emulsifer they used for their gluten-free Italian corn-based pasta! Even better, the answers they gave us were acceptable and positive! It is clear that they know about all of the ingredients they are cooking with!
My mom and Meghan Telpner both enjoyed a huge New Farm Greens salad with watermelon radishes. I tried a pile of the greens of all shades, flavours and shapes and they were very good, and in a very simple dressing, which really brought out the flavours of the natural greens! A note from our waiter – these amazing greens were grown in soil, which is apparently unique, although, we grow greens in soil in our own garden, so I’m not sure if that was just them trying to impress us or something, but they were great!
You should all know, that they can pretty much accommodate everybody – they have pastas, pizzas, and many mains, side vegetable dishes that you can order à la carte, plus, they can easily make dishes both vegan and vegetarian.
I ordered a pizza that was sensational – second to Libretto in this city. I loved that they served the pizza with big silver scissors (although I’m not very handy with scissors, so got a little help before digging in). The flavours blended together perfectly with crumbled Merguez Sausage, Romesco, Grilled Scallion, cotija cheese, dried olive and chopped parsley, and even after all I ate to start, I came close to finishing (I brought the other two pieces home and my dad ate them late last night, and he was very happy!).
My mother really enjoyed her wild mushroom (from Marc’s Mushrooms), fava bean and pea, gluten-free pasta dish – I thought it was a little plain, but I love wild mushrooms and it was good, it just made me even happier with what I chose to order!
The fish was plated beautifully, although I didn’t try it, and the asparagus looked great for asparagus, but that is not on my roster of favourite veggies!
What can I say about the desserts to make you understand how good they were – no words could do justice to these 3 brightly coloured plates! I was speechless at how awesmazing they looked. First there was a Chocolate cheesecake with candied nuts and cherries – gorgeous and it was pretty good. BUT, the Lemon Meringue Poppyseed Cake was the most awesmazing of them all, especially the meringue! The prettiest dessert with the most interesting component was the compressed and fresh fruit with spray-dried coconut milk. This coconut was powdery but when it hit my tongue it melted into actual coconut milk. What a taste treat for my palette, and will be for yours, too!
Note: If you go to the bathroom downstairs, you may notice that there is fake meat hanging in the meat fridge and it’s hilarious looking. It’s going to be there until their own food occupies the space! (I should have taken a picture of that, sorry!)
I look forward to being back to THR soon – maybe a burger at Harbord Room, followed by a pizza and dessert at THR! That’s a good food block in Toronto!