Saturday, 16 February 2013

Splendido

88 Harbord Street
Toronto, Ontario

416-929-7788



In her opinion:
This was our first visit to Splendido but I certainly hope that it's not our last! This was the first year that Splendido participated in Winterlicious and many in the food world including Toronto Life magazine said "go and book it now - don't even think about it"...that's what we did. I was really excited when I perused their Winterlicious menu online; however, it was completely different when we got there. That was fine with me...

We were shown to our table right away. Our waiter, Kurt was extremely polite and attentive. I must say that I was very impressed with the staff's uniform! Can't go wrong with dark jeans and shirt, tie and vests for the guys and dark jeans and a lovely lace top for the ladies. I thought it was the best waiter uniform I have seen anywhere...it was extemely hip and forward thinking...much like the restaurant itself.



I started with a glass of J. Bouchon Sauvignon Blanc, 2011. This was delightful! An excellent wine from Chile. It was so good that I want to find it at the LCBO. Kurt also brought some very good bread and butter for us to nibble on while we waited for our food.

For my appetizer, I ordered the "Porchetta". It was served with a gribiche sauce and a parsley salad.


This was lovely. It was so flavourful. This dish combined different textures and flavours on one plate.  The porchetta itself was perfection. It was served at room temperature over top of an extremely delicious gribiche sauce (egg, parsley, capers and tarragon working in unison). The parsley salad was a mixture of pickled onion, parsley and radishes. It was refreshing. It added the right amount of lightness to the dish. The whole thing was topped with a crispy pork rind. I enjoyed my appetizer very much.

For my main, I ordered the "Atlantic Salmon". It was served with smoked aubergine, Korean fried rice cake and black bean. Splendido also offered a choice of three sides for $5 dollars a piece. We ordered "Polenta" which was served with beef jus and chives.



I want to state that this is the best salmon dish I have ever eaten in my entire life. The flavour of the black beans, smoked aubergine (eggplant) and cilantro elevated the perfectly cooked salmon to a whole new level. I enjoyed the Korean fried rice cake very much...I wasn't sure what to expect but it worked beautifully with the whole dish. The polenta was exceptionally delicious...the flavour from the jus was wonderful.

For dessert, I ordered "Chocolate and Chili". It was described on the menu as "pound cake and lime jalapeno sorbet".


This was a flavour explosion in my mouth! Smoked chocolate, creamy chocolate, crunchy chocolate brittle, with a surprising lime jalapeno sorbet to make you go wow! I was thoroughly impressed with this dessert.

Splendido is outstanding. It is a great place for dinner. I'm glad I got to try it and plan on returning a few more times.

In his opinion:

I must admit that I have absolutely no idea how Splendido has evaded our pallets for so many years. It comes up in many of our conversations, it is mentioned extensively in some of our favourite publications like Toronto Life and has enjoyed the status of one of the top restaurants in Toronto for years. When we found out that it would be part of this year's Winterlicious, it seemed the perfect time to make all of that history and have a chance to experience this lovely restaurant.

Recently, owners Carlo Cattalo and Victor Barry completed a very light make over of this space, improving already on something that was extraordinary and showing that they're are not the type of restaurateurs that rest on their laurels. The space displays a flawless combination of sophistication, soft ambiance and a warm inviting feel.

Lately, when Splendido comes to mind, the word truffles is usually associated with it, given the insane amount of dishes that they carry that have those "food diamonds" in them one way or the other. The big question was, will truffles make it to the relatively inexpensive "prix fix" menu during Winterlicious? The answer was yes, but more about that later.



The staff is tremendously friendly, knowledgeable and sport some of the coolest looks in any restaurant in the city, and even of any restaurants I have visited world wide. The combination of dark Levi's with a white shirt, tie and vest for the men is a reflection of the style of the restaurant. Elegance, sophistication with a casual feel is a look that is displayed throughout.

Our waiter Kurt, which happens to have lived in our hometown in the past was extremely courteous, knowledgeable and certainly added in full to the experience that we had at Splendido. Wine orders, bread and food were delivered to the table in perfect timing and in a almost choreographed way.

For a starter, I opted for the star dish of the menu, the "Truffle Scrambled Eggs" served with forestier garnish. For food lovers, the words scrambled eggs and truffles together needs no explanation. Well, actually truffles with anything needs hardly an explanation. For those of you that the word truffles makes you think of chocolates, let me briefly explain that truffles, are a subterranean mushroom that is used in haute cuisine all over the world, adds flavour and enhances the taste of almost any dish. They are extremely expensive, rare and need to be utilized quickly or their "charm" (potency) will dwindle with time.

These were without a doubt the best scrambled eggs I have ever had in my life. Sure it helps having a generous amount of shaved truffle all over them but the eggs themselves were done to perfection. It was one of those dishes that you savour and take time in between bites to reflect and also hope that it never ends. This comes close to one the best dish I have ever had, period.



For an entree, I picked one of my favourite French dishes "Duck Confit'. Although, it wasn't being served in its usual shape or form, this was still Duck Confit but "Presse", literally meaning pressed. It was served in a perfect rectangular shape and you didn't have to worry about picking around the bones. It was delicious, with the strong taste of savoury confit and was the first time I had it that way. This dish was served with plum, sweet and sour turnip and jus sanguin. Delectable...

We also ordered the "Polenta with Beef Jus and Chives" side that was a suggested side on the menu for an additional $5. It was creamy, full of flavour and well worth the addition.



For dessert, I opted for the "Prune Plum, Brown Butter Gateau" served with Caramel Ice Cream on top. This was delicious and a great compliment to the two previous dishes. My espresso, however; was disappointing (as usual). Flavourful but weak... and my quest for a great espresso continues...


The Good: Amazing food, excellent service and a great dining experience.
The Bad: Menu was not the one advertised and some people got white truffles and I didn't :(
The Verdict: Top restaurant that focuses on details, extremely creative cuisine and a staff to match. It is no wonder that this restaurant has received the awards that it has, but also sets a standard that I'm sure other restaurants try to emulate. The creativity and simplicity of the dishes are refreshing and I was truly impressed. We shall return promptly...

I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 olives as rating



Splendido on Urbanspoon

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