When Actinolite opened a few weeks ago, we of course had to check it out. It had all the makings of a great new spot: industry-known owners (Chef Justin gained much of his tutelage in the kitchen at Susur; partner and wife Claudia is a food producer and consultant with Food Network Canada); it seats under 30; is located on Ossington (however, it’s north of Bloor…was almost a dealbreaker for me); and the food is a mix of local ingredients and rural Canadiana with Spanish, Italian and French influences.
So…went here we did. Actinolite is darling, and I can just imagine how lovely brunch here would be given the restaurant-front’s large windows – which even at 6:30pm caused Ms. Nicki to switch table sides and squint because of the sun’s beaming rays. (FYI I don’t think they do brunch, I’m just saying it would be great.) I really appreciated that Actinolite isn’t set up bumper-to-bumper – essentially when a small restaurant crams as many tables as possible in – and love the recycled decor from the former auto shop that used to occupy the space.
We tried the sauteed shrimp with salt cod brandade (check out the video to see what kind of childhood cereal we likened one of the flavours to); the tender and silky apple cider glazed pork shoulder; that day’s appetizer special of a shitake mushroom crusted whitefish in a mushroom broth; the veal t-bone atop creamed spinach with panko-crusted onion petals; and the grilled Ontario lamb with a delectable lamb soffrito.
Check out the vlog to see our reactions to some truly tasty dishes. PS, If you pay close attention you might be able to tell we were all in a ‘mood’ that day…ah, the joys of working with women…