Showing posts with label jamon iberico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jamon iberico. Show all posts

Toronto Beach Club (Toronto)

Thank you to Jjjiffy for this image

In high school, when I used to frequent Ashridge’s Bay, no one arrived dressed-to-impress to walk along the boardwalk. That’s all seemed to have changed now that Toronto Beach Club has opened. Walk past the bouncer and you’re transported into a well-healed tropical paradise; where the volleyball courts disappear behind foliage and it seems normal, even essential, to pop some bubbly on the beach.

You can’t go wrong with one of their hot mezze that comes with a grilled pita to start. The bread arrives hot and fresh, puffed to perfection so that it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, dusted with spices. They accompany the smoked eggplant ($16), a decent portion of warm soft legume that would have been amazing if the walnut and olive relish weren’t so sour that even the pomegranate molasses’ sweetness couldn’t balance it out. Maybe it’s me, but I prefer my eggplant savoury.

Their jamon iberico ($36) was sliced into respectable sized slices, the prized pig’s cured slightly sweet essence bursting on the tongue. Not quite a melt-in-your-mouth as what you’ll find in Spain, these were nonetheless tasty and worth a nibble if you appreciate a good charcuterie.

Of the three starters the sea bream crudo ($21) was my favourite. Thick meaty slices of white fish topped with citrus caviar (segments of finger lime) and chili sitting in what looks like a fiery olive oil but is rather delicate. The crudo was perfectly seasoned and wonderfully tasty, a lovely summery dish to enjoy while sitting outdoors.

Toronto Beach Club’s lamb chops ($45 for the half order shown) were cooked perfectly. So, it’s such a shame that they were too salty and requires some tableside knife skills. The seasoning needs to be toned down as the outer chops made me reach for water and since the marinated yogurt was also salted, together they were way too much. It’d be nice if the kitchen also considers the table size when finishing the dish: our four chops were only cut in half for a 3-top, which means you need to portion them yourself when they arrive. It likely helps the meat retain its heat and juices better, but it’s also a bit difficult to cut through the chops on a big platter with all the yoghurt and garnishes. The age-old joke of “how many people does it take to…?”, let me just say it is not one.

Thank you to Parv for this picture

Where they really excelled was the grilled seafood. Their fileted black sea bass ($36) had such a lovely, charbroiled exterior and was still delicately done inside. While it comes with a choice of sauce (we chose the harissa butter), it’s fantastic by itself.

Sides need to be ordered separately and are more than sufficient to share amongst three. The French fries ($12) are a safe choice – nice and crisp, dusted with oregano and salt and comes with truffle aioli for dipping. Yet, what really caught our attention was the grilled broccolini ($19): cooked until crisp and covered with pecorino-ramano, pangrattato, and calabrain chili creating such a lovely almost creamy sauce with a hit of heat to end. Do get yourself some greens.

Just make sure to save room for dessert as their baklava ($12-$15) is a must. I love that it wasn’t soaked in syrup, rather the perfect amount to add sweetness but still leave the puff pastry crispy and not oily feeling. The two pieces are sandwiched between a frozen cream layer. If this isn’t the ultimate ice cream sandwich, I don’t know what is. The strawberry crostata ($12-$15) paired nicely with it – the pastry a cross between a shortbread and cake and topped with ample sweet strawberries and a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream.

We all agreed that dinner at Toronto Beach Club is probably the most ideal time to visit. The temperature is not overly warm and it’s such a lovely experience to transition from evening into night. There was even a live Spanish band performing during our Wednesday visit, the women’s lovely vocals the perfect addition to the meal.

Thank you to Parv for this image

While the after-meal service can get a little backed up, the entertainment and atmosphere kept us happy while we waited for the verbal dessert menu to be presented. Wait aside, even with the pandemic you won’t feel rushed at the restaurant, the two-and-a-half hour seating times is sufficiently long enough to leisurely enjoy the meal. I certainly won’t be visiting Greece or the equator anytime soon. Until then, Toronto Beach Club will give me the tropical fix I need to transport myself out of Toronto. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1681 Lake Shore Boulevard East


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:




Tanto (Toronto)


As I write this post on Tanto, I can’t help but think about my experience at Constantine ... two similar restaurants: both newcomers in Toronto and Argentinian “inspired” so not necessarily authentic. My meals even followed comparable patterns of sitting at the Chef’s table and a dinner comprised of dishes made on their wood burning grill. Hence, although each post stands alone, I can’t help but draw comparisons between the meals.

Although both were enjoyable, Tanto elevated the experience by simply tweaking the way they did things. To begin, the made sitting at the “Chef’s table” matter. It sounds fancy, but really it merely means you’re sitting at a “bar” area overlooking the kitchen. There’s no special menu and you can order whatever you like. At Tanto, Chef Julian Iliopolus interacted with the diners – at the beginning, to answer any questions about the menu; and with each course, coming by to get our thoughts and answer any other queries that may arise. How else would I have known that Tanto’s leg of jamón ibérico wholesaled for $1,100? A very different experience than Constantine.


Tanto also commands their parilla, the wood burning grill, much better. Both are set-up similarly, the grill surface on a lever system so it can be raised and lowered. It’s how the wood is placed that differs. At Tanto, the wood burns at the back of the grill and as it heats up, smouldering chunks break off. The grill is then raised to combine these pieces with charcoal. In fact, this is generally how the traditional Argentinian asado is operated – ingredients are cooked using smouldering embers and not direct fire. As you can imagine, the indirect heat makes it easier for the chef to control the temperature and not burn the food. 


We were treated to a beautifully cooked wagyu bavette ($39) that incorporated a lightly smoked aroma but still medium rare in the centre. The fat within the marbled meat simply melted into everything so the beef looked lean but was juicy when eaten. Biting into the thinner end piece, I was met with a pungent blast of salt for my first taste. However, once a bit of the chimichurri was added, the condiment actually helped neutralize the saltiness. Moreover, the chimichurri was largely herbs and oil so wasn’t too vinegary, helping season the meat without covering all the flavours.


Arriving with a choice of sides, we decided on the patatas bravas… after all, what’s more Argentinian than meat with potatoes? The deep fried squashed spuds were amazingly creamy and topped with a garlic scape sauce. I could have eaten an order of these as a starter. 

The grilled squid ($18) also spent a minute on the grill, the intense heat cooking it quickly, so it rolls up and remains tender. Chef Iliopolus cheekily describes it being topped by “stuff”, particularly items that can cause allergic reactions. From what I could decipher there were crushed nuts, thinly fried pancetta, a thicker and tarter chimichurri, and chilies. Whatever the “stuff” was it really helped to add a burst of textures and flavours to the dish. Although I did try one piece of the squid with everything scraped off and it was still wonderfully flavoured on its own.


Seeing the leg of jamón ibérico ($30) on the counter, my husband and I eyed it giddily like kids in a candy store… we had to have a plate to start! There’s tons of literature out there that explains why this ham is special and commands such a high price. Having had it on a handful of occasions, it’s still a treat. While other cured pork products tend to be smoky, intensely salty, and you taste the porky flavour; the ibérico version has a sweet and salty taste with no intense pig odour. Hold a slice of it on your tongue for a bit and let the fat melt before chewing and you’ll be hit with these delicious juicy flavours. If ham had a candy form, this would be it.


The smoked ricotta empanada ($7) is an interesting take on the classic Argentinian snack. At Tanto it’s deep fried, the crust encapsulating molten ricotta and a leek/onion mixture. Add a bit of their house-made hot sauce to the cheese, it works well. While tasty, I still prefer the traditional beef version and will try that on a return visit. 


Hearing Chef Iliopolus describe the cavatelli with clams ($28), a pasta made with semolina flour with clams and peas, I knew it would be a dish I’d like. The chewiness of the cavatelli reminded me of gnocchi and the lightness of the peas and pea shoots were a great compliment to the rest of the meal. If only the clams weren’t cold this would have been the perfect dish for me. While not terrible, as the clams were plump and sweet, cold juicy clams with warm pasta wasn’t a contrast I enjoyed.


Oh Tanto, how I’ve warmed to your wood grill… the tale of two restaurants continues…

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 74 Ossington Avenue

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: