Dundas Park Kitchen’s Alex Tso and Melanie Harris show skill.
Alex Tso and Melanie Harris must be doing something wrong.
Though their Dundas Park Kitchen (2066 Dundas West, at Howard Park, 647-351-4793, dundasparkkitchen.ca, @DundasPark, Rating: NNNN) has been open for nearly a month, it has yet to be mentioned on Chowhound. Nor has their laid-back take-away café been discovered by the Twitterati or been the subject of a puff piece in a lesser alternative weekly.
"That's kind of what we planned," laughs Harris. "To have the time to work out any kinks."
Not that any are visible. Rectangular slices of the quiche du jour - today an eggy combo of spring asparagus, sun-dried tomato and creamy Woolwich goat cheese scented with a suggestion of nutmeg ($5) - sport a textbook pâte brisée crust, no surprise when you learn that Harris started out at Frangipane. Tso's no slouch either, having apprenticed with Jamie Kennedy for five years and helped launch the Drake alongside David Chrystian and a certain Curt Martin.
You see that expertise in sandwiches like shrimp salad with guacamole and sunflower sprouts ($10), and retro meat loaf with cheddar and crunchy celeriac slaw ($10.75), both on chewy house-finished ciabatta from Montreal's Boulart Bakery. A tasty side salad of kidney beans and bitter rapini adds counterpoint. Washed down with an Arnold Palmer, a 50/50 mix of iced tea and lemonade said to be the golfer's favourite tipple ($2.50), they make a formidable lunch.
Daily specials include a beefy lasagna coupled with a gluten-free Caesar salad thick with anchovies ($12, all tax-inclusive), the latter's croutons replaced by dehydrated onion crisps. They even occasionally offer roasted take-home Sanagan chickens with two sides for 25 bucks. But why is the Kitchen closed weekends? Surely they'd make a killing at brunch.
"Saturday morning we have a booth at the Wychwood farmers' market selling breakfast sandwiches," says Harris. "And Sunday's our family day. Not that we won't do brunch in the future, but we're going to wait till we can do it properly."
Sounds like a plan.