I have written about Tori’s Bakeshop before, and although this review is about the same physical space, it’s NOT just a great organic vegan bakery anymore, as they now serve “after hours”. Their After Hours menu contains lots of awesmazing dishes – all that are great to share with one or more people. I would definitely go back with a large group and order multiple of everything on the menu, but I would also be thrilled to go back even alone and devour almost one of everything they serve!
Let me explain a little about why Tori’s After Hours is unique in Toronto. They turn down their cool lights made from mason jars and giant whisks, so it’s dim and gives off the aura of a real restaurant. They also wrapped their candles in small paper bags which gave the place a more ambient feel. My mom and I were immediately happy when we sat down, and I have to admit, that I started dancing in my seat a little when I read the menu. Their short menu had so many things to choose from, it’s rare that such a large percentage of items appeals to me on one menu – a vegan cheese “slab”, awesmazing chickpea flour, gluten-free, and herbed crackers, mixed mushrooms, a chef’s special galette, and so much more.
As I excitedly went through the menu, Tori brought over two kinds of water (still and sparkling) in little glass carafes for us to pour as we wanted, and a little bowl of savoury puff pastry treats with some zaa’tar. These “crackers” are worth traveling for to the beaches area in Toronto, alone! Kids and adults alike would love them, I should have brought some home for my brother! Oops!
We started by sharing the Cheese “Slab”. Let me describe this to you, but make no mistake, I can’t do it a justice in words, because it was that good. There was an air-dried smoked crème served as two little orange wedges, and a peppercorn chevre and brie (picture below). The stone slab also included shaved smoked beets, a blueberry and a cranberry housemade preserve, a few pecans, a perfect amount of seeds, and included a bowl of their signature gluten-free, herbed crackers with scalloped edges, and a bread with a perfect crunchy crust. Needless to say, it disappeared VERY quickly, and I would eat this for dinner every day if I could. The only thing missing from this board, in my opinion, is a little bit of their coconut bacon, since if you try it, I think it’s enough to take a glass jar of it back to your house. I tried actually, but the stuff is so popular, they were sold out completely! Just a caution, the Cheese “Slab” is NOT for people with a nut allergy as all of these cheese are dairy-free and made from nuts.
Tori makes all that she is serving in house, by the way, and you can tell she is really proud of it.
My mom and I wanted to try many things, so we had to over-order. figuring that we would take some home as leftovers to enjoy the next day – this is a good plan, I highly suggest trying this technique! We tried the savoury pancake (which I may add was one of the best things of the night) with caramelized onions and crispy thin seitan (if you don’t know what that is, don’t judge it until you try it, unless of course you are gluten-free, in which case, avoid it since it’s basically wheat!). We devoured the gluten-free gnocchi with cream sauce and crispy eggplant on top. This is one of the few times that I have enjoyed eggplant outside of loving babaghanoush. The eggplant was so thin, crispy and was impeccably smoked to add a great a flavour and texture to this dish. We also enjoyed the mushroom and sunflower seed pate (with more of their crackers – they just kept coming and disappearing very soon after!) that had an artful pile of marinated vegetables on top of it. I would have loved to try the trio of mushrooms, but we just couldn’t order another thing, especially because we knew that there was a crème brulee on the menu that we would need to share for dessert – and we did! We had the choice of coffee or gooseberry crème brulee, and because I’m not much of a berry guy, I chose the coffee one. It arrived with a sparkler in it (because the people at the table beside us were celebrating a birthday, and Tori didn’t want us to be left out, so we got one too). It was almost like ice cream under the warm, crispy, browned top. I am certainly glad that I saved room for dessert.
Not that I took advantage of this, obviously, but they have a big list of organic and biodynamic wines and cocktails to go along with dinner.
My mom and I decided that our only real complaint about Tori’s After Hours is that it’s not closer to our home, but we also agreed that it’s worth the drive, and we’ll go back again soon. Although this isn’t a conventional restaurant in many ways, it would be on my list of top meals that I would like to go out for in Toronto. I’m so happy to have a place to eat where they use real ingredients to create good, organic, vegan food that is totally fun to eat and delicious.
I made my reservation online for the 7pm sitting, but they also have a 9pm sitting. When are you going to go?