The bf and I took his mommy out for eats the other night. We decided to try one of the relatively new kids on the block– Borealia (*as of April 8, 2015, they’ve changed it to Boralia!), on the Ossington strip.
Borealia’s food philosophy is to draw inspiration from “the historic foods of the natives, early settlers, and subsequent immigrant groups who arrived in the 18th and 19th centuries”. Interesting to know we’d be kicking it old school and we’d be doing some taste bud time traveling.
The restaurant space is cozy and reminiscent of the pioneer days – with a homey, log cabin feel. Even the cocktail booklet is bound with leather– as if to say, yes (!) we hunted and foraged for the food you are about to eat.
While I am a self-proclaimed #OMNOMNOMnivore, between the three of us, we were advised to order tapas style: 2-3 dishes per person. After 6 dishes and 2 starters, I was still not full.
On the whole, the experience was a positive one but the price points were not worth the portion sizes– far too small.
With that said, let’s proceed with the eats:
Chopsuey Croquettes – these crispy spheres are breaded in panko (fantastic crunch factor) and stuffed with mushroom scented arancini and Chinese sausage.. hence the name. I adored the earthy flavour and nuggets of sausage in each bite. Alas there were only 3 small pieces. I could of eaten an entire bucket of ’em
Red Fife Levain Bread & Cultured Butter- what’s there to say except that homemade bread is killer? Especially when they use a grandfather grain from our prairie provinces. Yay to culture and tangy-ness (of bread flavour).
L’éclade – fanciful mussels unveiled in a showy clear-domed cloche. It’s like we were eating these little sea critters in the thick of an evergreen forest– what with all the pine-y fumes surrounding us. I don’t go ga-ga over mussels, but they were tender little morsels and the butter broth at the bottom was a pleasure to sop up with the bread we ordered.
Spiced Scallop Crudo – gorgeous presentation, but a tad dull flavour-wise. Yes, the scallops were fresh, soft and buttery but they didn’t really seem to absorb any of the marinade it sat on (Fermented Chili, Late Harvest Apple Cider Vinegar).
Pan-Roasted Elk – probably the most pleasurable dish of the evening. It was that sexy, runny egg that did it in for me. That golden goodness oozed everywhere- thanks to a perfectly deep fried Wild Rice-Crusted Egg. It was a lovely meld of textures: the lean elk with the rich tasting yolk. Cranberry Gastrique, Burnt Onion and Radish were tangy and bitter accompaniments that helped cut through the richness of the proteins.
Grilled Mushroom Salad – Umami mushrooms, coupled with refreshing watercress sauce, and spinked with Hazelnut Corn Cake. It was a such a well-rounded mix the textures and flavours. And that Hazelnut corn cake? I could devour it by the bucketful. The natural, sweet nuttiness played off so nicely with the meaty- textured mushrooms.
Pigeon Pie – the talk of the town (according to nearly every review in the city). A buttery parcel containing hunks of roast squab breast and creamy parsnip. Pretty as a picture, it was near perfection– the only slight problem was the crust itself– a tad too salty imho. Other than that.. all the remaining components were ridiculously delicious. Perfectly seasoned and cooked meat with a charred crust and juicy interior.
Sugar Shack ‘Ham’ – Smoked Pork Cheek, Maple Cider Glaze, Crispy Potato, Glazed Rutabaga. This dish was a letdown. Dare I say it was over-smoked? The meat was so dry and coarse… and overly salty. The only saving grace was probably those crispy potato nuggets– like a pimped out tater-tot.
We’re pigs (or maybe– just me). So we ordered all of the desserts. You’d expect no less of me, no?
Cloudberry Linzer Torte – Coffee Cream, Hibiscus Gel. Ooooh, I love me a good lattice weave. A buttery delight with that full bodied coffee cream.
Louisbourg Hot Chocolate Beignets- Spiced Chocolate Ganache, Beer Batter, Lemon Sugar. What is this magical fried goodness? Bite into the fluffy cloud to reveal a molten lava of creamy-dreamy chocolate. MOAR i say! Give me MOAR. p.s. if you haven’t already guess it by now.. they be killin’ it when it comes to deep fried goodies.
Aunt Lucy’s Apple ‘Tart’ – Apple Brown Butter Filling, Apple Sorbet, Streusel, Torched Meringue. Mmmm torched meringue is like a toasted marshmallow. Brings me back to my Girl Guide days. Aside from that, the rest of the components were lost to that sorbet. Yes, it was good but I was really keen to taste the brown butter filling– but I didn’t.
– since I was in the neighborhood, I got 2 cookies from Bang Bang Ice Cream for a snack later.
Midnight cocoa cookies with 70% (i suspect) chocolate bits studded throughout the dough. Oh so yum with a glass of milk.
A cobbled oatmeal cookie with pretzels, chocolates, nuts. and yay! No raisins (sorry but raisins need to stay the EFF away from oatmeal cookies. It’s just a sad crime when they’re present instead of chocolate).
And review, over and out. Comments? Thoughts? Cookies?