Showing posts with label frittata. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frittata. Show all posts

David Rocco Bar Aperitivo (Toronto)

Before going to David Rocco’s Bar Aperitivo, I prepared myself for a casual restaurant that’s meant for a quick bite, so I didn’t expect any posh seating or an extensive menu. As anticipated, their tables were set-up largely as communal shared space with a less than ideal table-to-chair height. In the end, we felt it was best to forgo any dishes requiring a fork and knife that could potentially make a mess.

Instead, we stuck to a hand-held sandwich with salad – easy peasy eats to munch on while we enjoyed a bottle of prosecco. Little did I know that for a restaurant who dedicates half of their menu to sandwiches and salad, the dishes would be executed so poorly. After biting into both, I started comparing the experience to the Druxy lunches that was catered through work and marvelled how they could have been interchangeable.

In the next menu update, I highly recommend Bar Aperitivo clarify that their paninis are cold. Unless you’re deeply steeped in the Italian culture, most people may not realize that panini simply means “bread roll” since the North American interpretation is generally a sandwich that’s been pressed, grilled, and served hot.

Hence, when the frittata panini ($13) arrived cold it was a disappointment – does anyone like cold frittatas?  Perhaps the temperature could have been overlooked if the frittata was really good and incorporated more flavours than the sprinkling of herbs or if their house-made brioche bun was uber fresh rather than hard and cold. At least the salsa verde was tasty and the caramelized onions were nicely stewed and sweet. In hindsight, I should have gone with a crostino, while it seemed like it’d be messier to eat, they looked tastier than the cold egg sandwich we received.

For a dish that's been so overdone, there are over a dozen that David Rocco could have gained inspiration from, Bar Aperitivo’s kale salad ($16) was one of the worst I’ve ever eaten. The kale was simply ripped into large pieces and tossed with a very lightly applied mint pesto and lemon juice dressing so the almost metallic flavour of the kale leaches through, unless you can mask it with one of the orange segments, apples, cranberry, or almonds that’s tossed with everything. Nor were the greens massaged with the dressing, so it made for a fibrous salad.  

The crocchette di cavolfiore ($7) was also cold and not made to order. Temperature aside, the dish could really use some textural contrast as the cauliflower and potato mash is soft and the fine bread crumb coating wasn’t crispy either. Perhaps adding some panko to the coating or some micro-diced vegetables into the mixture would have allowed for some extra colours and crunch.

At least Bar Aperitivo’s gelato was tasty. With about half a dozen flavours to choose from, the tried-and-true hazelnut was calling my name. The gelato was served really cold, so it resisted melting, and the texture was silky and creamy. The hazelnut flavours were pronounced and the sweetness a nice balance. Yet, for $13 for a cup, it really commands a premium over the many other wonderful ice cream shops in Yorkville. While Bar Aperitivo’s gelato was good, I still find Summer’s Ice Cream to be better.

I should have learnt my lesson from the less-than-ideal “celebrity chef” dining experiences at Jamie Kennedy and Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants. Both instances were a lot of hype but the food fairly subpar. The same goes for David Rocco's Aperitivo Bar… let’s just say it does not have me feeling I'm living la dolce vita.

Overall mark - 4 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 95 Cumberland Street


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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Café Belong (Toronto)


Nestled within the Evergreen Brickworks, Café Belong benefits from its proximity to the year round farmer’s market. Perhaps perusing the fresh food stalls beforehand influenced my meal choice, but their vegetarian dishes sounded fantastic and I didn’t miss an ounce of meat!

Replacing ham, the sautéed kale and mushrooms eggs benedict ($23) incorporated plump mushrooms that provided a meaty bite. As the poached egg oozed over everything, the molten yolk was captured into the not overly done kale’s crevices, making for a cleaner dish.  A layer of sweet caramelized onions sat on top of the doughy soft buttermilk biscuit; it was a bit sugary for my taste, but thankfully the buttery hollandaise helped to add back a savoury element.


Although the frittata ($19) is listed under the “cold kitchen” section of the menu, it still arrives warm. The cubes of roasted butternut squash at the bottom makes the egg dish heartier and I rather enjoyed the grilled red onion and wilted spinach that adds a bite and colourful contrast to the frittata. Just make sure to smear on some of the creamy goat cheese (?) purée from the plate, the tangy saltiness makes for a great addition.


A perfect “dessert” for sharing is their fluffy pancakes ($20 for three). It starts with the requisite eggy and buttery batter and is topped with ricotta, granola and stewed apples. Personally, I found the crunchy granola clusters detracted from the pillowy soft pancakes, but it did pair nicely with the large soft cinnamon apple chunks. The toppings aren’t overly sweet, so you’ll want to pay the extra $4 for warmed maple syrup – pancakes  aren’t the same without this wonderful nectar.


If you’re like me and tend to opt for meaty options during brunch, I encourage you to head to Café Belong and give our plant-based friends a try. After all, maybe Meatless Mondays could easily become Botanical Brunch Saturdays?

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 550 Bayview Avenue (at the Evergreen Brickworks)

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Cafe Belong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fabbrica (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 49 Karl Fraser Road
Website: http://fabbrica.mcewangroup.ca/
Type of Meal: Brunch



For Mother's Day my husband and I wanted to treat our mothers to lunch (without the work) and after the McEwan All Access event, Fabbrica seemed like a perfect choice. Located at the outdoor mall, the Shops on Don Mills, the area was bustling on the sunny day with people sitting on patios and mingling around on the square of AstroTurf in the centre of the mall.

Inside Fabbrica the sunlight shrunk away and you’re transported into a rustic homey environment. We were seated in a small room off of the dining room, beside the meat curing room and complete with a humongous mirror. We enjoyed the cozy and comfortable atmosphere and was glad that Fabbrica doesn’t cram in tables; we received a large one for our group and had more than enough space separating us and the nearest table.

Sticking with my normal frittata ($17), Fabbrica’s was piping hot and contains large pieces of artichoke and roasted tomatoes. The menu noted it also contained fontina cheese but I couldn’t taste it and actually found it seemed to be lacking something – maybe a stronger goat cheese would stand out better. However, there was plenty of shaved parmesan which melted onto the top of the fluffy frittata. Served with a side of lightly dressed arugula salad, a fair portion of hash browns and wonderfully toasted, chewy and oiled ciabatta bread this was a substantial meal.


My husband’s short rib hash ($16) had succulent pieces of tender short ribs along with two beautifully poached eggs that simply oozed onto everything combining with the meat gravy. This dish had some nice flavors and the sauce was perfect for dipping pieces of bread into – my husband’s dish was pretty much spotless by the end of the meal. If only the potatoes were cooked longer or better yet substituted with toasted hash browns the dish would be even better. The potatoes were just done but lacked the fluffiness you’d want with hash. The fried hash browns, that accompanied most other meals, would have held up nicely with the short rib liquid yet be softer on the inside.


Having managed to sneak a piece of the flank steak from the steak and eggs ($18), it was surprisingly tender and the salsa verde topping it adding some freshness. With a fairly substantial portion of meat, two eggs, potatoes and the customary toasted ciabatta this is another dish for the hungry.


Although I didn’t get a chance to try the fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes ($14) with blueberries & whipped mascarpone and the Fabbrica benny made of poached eggs placed on cheese crumpets with prosciutto in place of ham, they certainly looked delicious. Our parents who ordered it certainly seemed to enjoy it as their plates were also cleaned.


Some lighter fruit desserts were offered during brunch. Although I’m not a fan of rice pudding, I tried a spoon of the strawberry rhubarb rice pudding ($11). Made with Arborio rice, mixed with a refreshing strawberry rhubarb syrup and topped with aged balsamic vinegar it was a nice combination of flavours and textures. For me, I found the grains of rice too pronounced but understand many individuals enjoy it when the creamy rice layer isn’t too mushy.


The lemon trifle ($11) packed a powerful punch. On the bottom a piece of sponge cake soaked everything up. Layered on top were a substantial amount of sweet lemon curd, tons of stewed blueberries and crunchy olive oil streusel bits (similar to what tops fruit crumble). I was disappointed, I generally love trifle, but found the lemon curd overpowering and extremely sweet for a dish that’s normally fresh and light. Moreover the layers were too thick so it was very hard to get a spoon of everything at once. In the end, if there were more layers, less lemon curd and more cake & whipped cream the dessert may be more balanced. 



All in all, it was a successful Mother's Day brunch and we agreed it was a wonderful experience. While visiting the restroom, we couldn’t help but walk past the wood-burning oven and found the smell of cooking pizzas intoxicating.  A return visit may be in order to try out their pizza and Nona's ravioli, both which sounded very tempting but just a tad heavy for the first meal of the day.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!