In her opinion:
I first heard about Farmhouse Tavern when I laid eyes on it this summer on our way to our last Summerlicious lunch at Chiado...it looked like a happening place, so I did a little research. This convinced me that I should add it to my list of restaurant to visit. I should have known that it was a happening place, after all, it was featured in Toronto Life's "Where to Eat Now, 2013" issue. It's actually number 5 on the list.
I can totally see why. Darcy MacDonell has a little gem in the Junction. Chef Alex Molitz creates wonderful fresh farm to table cuisine. I knew I was going to enjoy our brunch just based on the buzz that this restaurant was getting but I ended up having a truly amazing meal.
We decided to forgo the patio for indoor seating instead. The decor is rustic...farmhouse chic is how I would describe it.
Our server Alex brought over glasses of ice water and told us what they had on tap. I decided to go with Junction Craft Brewery's Shacklands Farmhouse Wheat beer. And I am so glad I did. This is easily the best wheat beer I have ever had. It had the best nose I have ever had in a wheat beer. The flavour was even better. Sorry Rickard's White and Hoegaarden. This was exceptional!
We decided to get a couple of things off the brunch menu and share them family style. After asking Alex about a few of things on the menu, we decided to go with "Farmhouse Poutine" and the "Mother and Child Reunion with Foie Gras". Farmhouse Poutine consisted of a potato hash with rabbit rillette, Thunder Oak gouda and braised leaks. (I know I probably messed that up!) The Mother and Child Reunion consisted of a salad made of heirloom carrots, radishes and 100 kilometer greens, two duck eggs coated in panko crumbs and deep fried, duck prosciutto, honey, toasted house made bread and for an extra $9 we got a slice of foie gras placed on top of the prosciutto. (It's incredible how a slice of foie gras can make a man happy or at least my man!)
Okay, where to start...it was heavenly! I think that is the best way to describe it. It was really amazing. I think the fact that we were having such ingredients as rabbit rillette and duck prosciutto, duck eggs and foie gras only heightened the experience to a whole other foodie level. The farmhouse poutine was so so good. The hash was excellent, the rabbit rillette delectable and the Thunder Oak gouda brought everything together perfectly. The mother and child reunion is known as "the threesome" on the dinner menu with the slice of the foie gras. It was my perfect idea of a threesome...it felt almost sinful having these incredible ingredients served on a butcher block! Salty, sweet and savory. A true threesome of deliciousness!
Overall, an amazing experience. The food was outstanding. The service was perfect and the ambiance relaxed and comfortable. I really enjoyed our brunch at Farmhouse Tavern and want to return for dinner.
|"Mother and Child Reunion with Foie Gras" or "the Threesome"|
|"Farmhouse Poutine" or "Hangover Poutine"|
At the Junction in Toronto, where the street signs coincidentally say "Rua Da Madeira" (Madeira being the island of my birth) there is a not so secret gem in the city's food scene. At first, it may be easy to miss given its location a stone's throw away from Dundas Street, but I would advise you to look for it. Don't just drive by! Stop, park and make sure that you can cross this off your "foodie places to try" list because you won't be disappointed.
As you approach the Farmhouse Tavern you will notice the patio that surrounds the front of the building and a great alternative to the indoor seating options, even if you are not in the " be seen" neighbourhoods of downtown. The decor offers a rustic meets hippie approach with some stuffed animals in the mixture. Garage sale type mismatched glasses and country flea market furniture pieces complete the look.
The stars of this oasis of retro rustic chic are definitely the dishes. The food is unapologetic in its composition and the names of the dishes bring an aura of mystery, keeping you guessing what "Mother and Child Reunion", "Threesome" and "Cover Girl" actually means. The chalkboards on the wall give you the menus and the undecipherable dish names but a quick talk with your server and the mystery of the dishes goes away easily.
It was very hard to stay away from some of their overly bogged and talked about signature dishes like "The Barnyard Burger" ($20) or The Ploughman's Platter ($24) but we decided instead to share a couple of different dishes, giving us a closer insight into the local farm driven food that they so proudly advertise. I decided to start with a pint of the seasonal Beau's All Natural Brewing Company beer, which was the perfect way to start the meal.
We opted to share 2 dishes family style and when given the option to throw foie gras into the mix for an additional $9, we obviously agreed. The dishes we chose were the "Farmhouse Poutine" and the oddly named "Mother and Child Reunion.
The "Mother and Child Reunion" consisted of breaded deep fried duck eggs, duck prosciutto, honey, a heirloom salad and a slab of Foie Gras in the mix makes it a dish called "Threesome" in the dinner menu. The duck eggs were fantastic, some of the freshest and best tasting I have ever had and the seared foie gras was definitely a great addition to this plate. This is a curious concept of adding foie gras to most dishes for an additional $9 (recently increased to $10) but it seems to work very well.
The "Farmhouse Poutine" was outstanding and dare I say, one of the best I have ever had. The fresh cut cubed fries are coated with Gouda (Thunder Oak) rabbit rillete and braised leaks. Normally that description would be enough to sell this dish to any food loving person in this world but I will add that the topping are generous and extremely fresh, making this dish a must have for any poutine/rabbit fan out there.
The Good: Farm driven food is the theme and it actually works. The freshness of the ingredients, the locally sourced food really takes on a new level in this restaurant.
The Bad: At peak times it is hard to get a seat in this place, so reserve, reserve reserve. The prices are in line with a much fancier and better located place in the downtown core but still well worth it in my books.
The Verdict: Chef Alexander Molitz and owner Darcy MacDonell (of Le Societe fame) have a winning concept in this great restaurant. The food is superb and the service was outstanding. The buzz has been high and mighty since it opened and for a change it's nice to see a restaurant deliver on it's fame and reputation.
I give it 4 out of 5 Olives as rating