Monday, May 24, 2010

Simply Splendido!

It's great when you really love a restaurant but when a restaurant really loves you back it's a whole different ballgame. Splendido put a big heart on for my sister Yelper, Deanna and myself and showed us some big time loving. Deanna had chosen Splendido as her swan song high end restaurant before embarking stateside so we set off for Harbord Street with big anticipation. Chatting up our waiter Deanna let him know that Splendido was her choice (she was flipping back and forth between Sushi Kaji & Scaramouche) and that we came to eat!

I never thought I'd ever say this but I actually think I found a Charcuterie Board that I liked better than my most beloved Black Hoof.
Served up on a large piece of petrified wood the Splendido Charcuterie board is un-fucking-believable. Please excuse the vernacular, it is just difficult to put it any other way. The board could easily be shared by two people as an app. It's loaded with everything from Foie Gras parfait mousse, several types of house cured meats, macerated cherries, venison tartar, chicken liver pate, Lardo (or something akin to it), bread sticks wrapped in porcetta, poached plum and apple and on and on. This board has colour, texture, it's got sweetness, it's got savoury happening and it's got some bite with spice.

For mains I chose the Butter Lobster with chanterelle & mascarpone Risotto and Dea selected the Yorkshire Suckling Pig.
We opted for the wine flights to accompany our food. Tawse Winery was the featured wines and the flight included 4 different glasses (the flight is priced at $26) which said 2 ounce pours. So let the love begin...because they were very generous pours. Our waiter brought the first two (a Chardonnay and a Sauv. Blanc) and suggested to us to "save" the Chardonnay and as it turns out there was a wonderful reason for this. The waiter surprised us with a course of one of the most amazing pastas I've ever eaten. It was fresh Tagliatelle covered in shavings of Tartufi. Our nostrils were absolutely overwhelmed by the aromatic scent of the mushroom as he put the plates down. He told us that Chef/Owner Victor Barry had sent them out for us to benchmark this special occasion. We washed down our pasta with the honey coloured Tawse chardonnay. Oh Splendido, you really know how to show a couple of girls a good time.

Mains were stellar. Crackling pigs ear to be crunched and beautiful fresh lobster meat to be worshipped. The risotto was was an absolute thing of beauty. It was smooth and silky, kissed by mascarpone and flavour enhanced by the chanterelles.

We finished off the evening with the Lemon Meringue dessert. It was sweet and tart at the same time (much like us!) and was a lip smacker. So just when we thought we'd seen all the love we can handle, Carlo Catallo, the owner, who had already stopped by our table to chat wines, stopped by one more time, with some gorgeous late harvest Riesling in tow to enhance our dessert moment. He wanted to make sure we finished up our Splendido experience on a happy and positive note. Boy, this guy is one sweet talker.

What a night. The chef stopped by to ask us about the pasta and of course we fawned over him as if he was Brad Pitt. I left my heart on Harbord Street that night with a memory of simply one of the best dining experiences I've had the good fortune to indulge in.

My last words about Splendido would be that while it may seem pricey, you can indulge and enjoy some of their deliciousness by just sitting up at the bar, imbibing in one of their fantastic cocktails and ordering up a Charcuterie board for two. Then again, you might get lucky as Dea and I did, having the restaurant comp us the pasta and the dessert wine. Absolute class all the way.

Splendido, until we meet again...ti amo.

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