While it might not be the best new restaurant in the country, as Air Canada's En Route magazine claims (and airlines know food, right?), husband-and-wife team Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth's candlelit west-side bistro is certainly one of the most creative. Left-field Spanish-inspired tapas filtered through French Mediterranean technique and smooth service make reservations essential.
Best: at dinner, the $50 five-course tasting menu that always starts with warm house-baked crusty bread spread with Stirling Creamery butter and continues with the likes of raw Big Eye tuna layered with porcini and foie gras in black garlic sauce; grilled mackerel and morcilla blood pudding over velvety pumpkin soup swirled with diced smoked apple; pan-roasted veal sweetbreads glazed with caramel on Black Trumpet mushrooms and organic greens; duck two ways – crispy of wing, rare of roasted red breast; to finish, sponge cake doused in rum coupled with gingery house-made sesame ice cream and locally grown kiwi compote; at the $40 six-course Sunday lunch, more of that marvellous bread spread with chicken liver mousse; smoked albacore tuna with heirloom carrots and tapenade toasts; Huevos Estrellados over fried potatoes and crumbled chorizo; croquetas thick with nutty béchamel; coq au vin with foraged mushrooms, raw celery root julienne and chicken-fat rice; watermelon-radish salad in a shallot vinaigrette; caramel pudding cake with vanilla custard and strawberries.
Complete tasting menu dinners for $75 per person (Sunday lunches $60), including tax, tip and a glass of wine. Average main $20 (à la carte). Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: two short steps at door, small washrooms on same floor.
Updated Dec 20, 2012