Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cafe Belong, Toronto

Located in the Toronto Brickworks and no sign, Cafe Belong is  bit hard to find, but, it is worth finding. One is greeted by a very open, spare but warm room. It is a lovely space during a wonderful sunset.

We began with summer squash and zucchini with arugula, a soft boiled egg, Saskatoon berries and sliced smoked duck, all dressed with a roasted pepper vinaigrette. The egg was perfectly cooked and the yolk dreamy soft and rich. The roasted pepper vinaigrette was a perfect complement for the flavours of the smokey duck breast, squash and arugula.

Frittata with a summer salad of mixed greens. The fritatta incorporated shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, chopped tomato, Swiss chard, kale and goat cheese. The fritttata tasted good, but the texture was a bit dry. A sprinkle of a great fragrant olive oil would have been a positive addition for flavour and texture. 

French fries were crispy, ungreasy and had very good flavour. I enjoyed the garlic scape ailoli with the fries.

Toast topped with a roasted red pepper rouille was for the shellfish. It could have used a touch more garlic for me.

This is the hot pot of steamed mussels, clams and oysters. The shellfish were each perfectly cooked and the broth which incorporated summer squash slices, chopped tomato and chopped onions was good to the last drop!

Scalloped sweet white potato had a lovely flavour that had the addition of some caramelized onions and this dish went well with the lamb dish that followed.

The kugel....ta-ta!!

Rosemary kugel  with apple puree and jus. Frankly, a bland and uninspiring dish.

Milk braised lamb with spelt and fried sage. Lovely flavours in the rich sauce with the tender lamb went so well with the nutty flavour of the spelt and the crisp sage. I prefer the flavour and texture of the spelt to mashed potatoes anytime.

Spiced pot de creme with honey roasted peaches served with a summer berry compote, was a fabulous dessert, redolent of such spicey flavours as cardamom and perhaps some pepper(?). For me, the perfect end to this meal.

Montfort dairy goat cheese cheesecake topped with wild blueberries and a black pepper, blueberry spiced rum sauce.

Cafe Belong has had mixed reviews. This restaurant left me with a very good feeling about the cuisine overall.

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