I was very excited when I set out to try Torito Tapas bar. I was geared up to try something new and when I had checked the menu online, I knew it would be good, but it surpassed my every expectation!
Torito is a small, dimly lit space in Kensington Market with exceptional service. Both people that served us were able to answer all of my questions about the food they serve, which is always a great sign. Chef Luis, the owner and chef, works magic in the partially open kitchen, and took the time to explain how he is passionate also about knowing where his food comes from and to have a connection with every bite. It was very cool. Luis even told us the story of once how he brought up a pig named Diego, and he and his friends helped take care of him and raise him. When they had to kill Diego, the pig, they brought him to the restaurant and they posted pictures of him and called the dish the “Diego Special”. Apparently, people really didn’t like that because they didn’t want to know that what they were eating once had a name. I think if you eat something you should know where it comes from, and be connected to it. It seemed that Luis agreed with that too!
The menu is so great with so much to choose from, and it is hard to decide what to order, but luckily since it’s all small dishes, you can sample many, and then order more of your favourites after. My advice is to order 3 things to start and when you finish those, keep ordering a few dishes at a time until you get full.
I truly enjoyed the avocado fries (I had 2 orders – one I shared with my family, the other I had almost to myself) and the dip it came with was excellent as well. We also had wild mushrooms with a poached egg which were absolutely delicious, and had chunks of garlic floating in the rich broth. The Patatas Bravas with aioli were also a hit – a layer of tomato sauce topped with layered, thinly sliced roasted potatoes with aioli drizzled on top. The Spanish Tortilla tasted a bit like a potato latke and was also excellent. We all really enjoyed the Andalucian chickpea and spinach stew – it was warm and hearty and not lacking in flavour and topped with little toasty pieces of bread. We tried the Padron Peppers which were fun to eat – some were sweet and some were spicy, so it was by chance what you got to eat (my dad got most of the spicy ones). The braised short rib was tender and the meat was very juicy, and the garlic mash it was served on held the juice nicely. The sheep’s milk Manchego cheese from Spain (the king of all cheeses) was very light, but I though it was very good, and I love a good sheep’s milk cheese!
Before leaving, I went to the kitchen ledge, and Chef Luis gave me a spoonful of his grandmother’s recipe of Guacamole with tomatillos, and WOW, it was amazing! It is worth the trip back to the restaurant just to have a bowl of that! And, there is no doubt that I will be back to Torito Tapas Bar.
I also thank Chef Luis for reminding me of the responsibility I have as a food critic to always talk about connecting to the food on our plates.