The VIBE Inside FRILU, an uptown tasting menu restaurant with a DT contemporary feel

Location7713 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2C4
Contact: 289.597.8867, info@frilurestaurant.com , Website
CommunityThornhill
Crowd: Mixed, Date Night
Category: Fine Dining
Delivery: Not Available
Reservations: Open Table

VIBE Rating:

Serving up a Japanese-inspired tasting and fine dining menu with a Nordic twist

Frilu, which is short for “friluftsliv” Norwegian for free air life, opened their doors this June 2018 in the far north end of Yonge St above Toronto. Daring, I know. Although, don’t let that discourage you. This small zen modern 28-seat restaurant, has raised the bar for uptown dining experiences. Despite the distance, this seems to be a new trend. Especially with restaurants like The Pearl Morisette recently taking first place at the Canada’s Best New Restaurants Awards presented by Air Canada in 2018. Which seem to be taking the approach of making their restaurants a destination just outside the city for guests to travel to for a new experience.

The Eats

Frilu restaurant serves up a tasting menu experience like none other I’ve tried before. Creatively changing the menu seasonally to keep things “fresh” — pun intended. Not just any menu, one that not only tastes great, but looks incredible!

Think instagramable, and explodes with flavour in your mouth… then scrap all of that and prepare to be amazed. You want to be walking into it with a clean slate — and full powered cellphone battery too. Although, if you have the new Huawei Mate P20 Pro, you have nothing to worry, and can possibly resurrect you’re guests phone once they die too. Sorry, I had to add, I’m obsessed — and btw the majority of the shots included here were shot with it.

Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Chef’s Lar-Eo, the first course of the Fall tasting menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)

The $95 10-course tasting menu, and worth every penny, is a creatively crafted fusion between Japanese kaiseki and modern Nordic style food. Not surprising because the owner of Frilu restaurant, chef John-Vincent Troiano, spent 3-years of his earlier career training under Toronto Japanese master chef Masaki Hashimoto, followed by an apprenticeship at a Nordic restaurant in Copenhagen (Noma).

Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
The Great Lake Trout, swimming in a sake broth, and topped with yeast oil. Is the second course of the Fall menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Ground and Sea, is Frilu’s their take on the traditional Japanese dish known as “agedashi tofu” where silken firm tofu is served hot, cut into cubes, then lightly dusted with potato or cornstarch and finally deep-fried until golden brown. Here, burdock, a long brown root, is cooked until it reaches a tofu-like consistency and is then deep fried for extra texture. Served with a fresh creamy sea urchin brought over from Vancouver. Everything is served over a roasted chicken jus full of umami. The third course of the Fall menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Cervos Smoke and Hazel, is roasted deer tongue. Its meatiness is meant to emulate the texture of a steak. It is then topped with fresh hazelnut shavings, which balances the flavours and brings everything together. Then accompanied by a deliciously intense onion and anchovy purée. This is the fourth course on the Fall tasting menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Pumpkin Patch, representing fall on a plate. The pumpkin is served on a bed of hay that is meant to literally look like a pumpkin patch. Inside, guests will find a decadent, rich soufflé of bone barrow waiting to be spread over fresh house-made pumpkin seed bread. Each Pumpkin Patch is intended to be served between two people. The fifth course of the Fall tasting menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Mineral/Savoury, Hen of the woods mushroom is grilled over real Japanese charcoal known as “binchotan”, brushed with fermented mushroom paste, and bread miso. The sixth course of the Fall tasting menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
The Surf and Turf dish is a unique take on the classic surf and turf combo. Lobster is roasted in butter, served with beef floss (an adaptation from the traditional Chinese pork floss) and served on a bed of horseradish cream, an idea inspired by the horseradish shavings normally served alongside a piece steak in many steakhouses. The seventh course of the fall tasting menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Waterfall: Marsh. This course represents the swamp area in the marsh where ducks reside. Roasted duck which is finished on “binchotan”, Japanese charcoal is the star of the place. Accompanied by dehydrated kale, turnip, bonito flakes, and burnt onion broth, which is poured table-side. The eight, and last savoury course of the fall tasting menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Earth Apple, named after the nickname for the naturally sweet Jerusalem artichoke, which is the main ingredient. Here, the vegetable is presented in ice cream and chip forms. To continue the play on words, a roasted apple puree is added. The dish is
then topped with coffee crumble for an extra layer of flavour. The ninth course of the fall tasting menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Dora Cake, is Chef Troiano’s take on “dorayaki, or dora cake, a typical Japanese dessert made with castella pancake and normally filled with red bean paste. Chef’s version is filled instead with fresh mascarpone, fermented pear, and sake paste. The tenth and final course of the fall menu at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)

The Beverages

If you’re looking for the smoke and mirrors, you ain’t going to find it here. Simple classics, is how I would describe it. Also offering a great alcoholic ($60) and non-alcoholic ($30) drink pairing option for the tasting menu — which I highly recommend. The pairings really did go well with each course, and in most cases brought out the flavours in each dish. Which is to be expected.

Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
A digestif served with the Earth Apple course of the Fall menu, which is part of the alcoholic pairing option, at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
An infused gin made on location by the bar team at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)

The Looks

Frilu has a very zen, minimalistic and modern Scandinavian design look to it. The copper finished light fixtures are definitely a great touch, and the long bold bar really ads a nice clean structure to the room — and yes, that is real moss along the back wall. Simple yet lush design. But the plating, mind boggling. I mean, one course even came out laid out on a bed of hay. Beautifully, I should add.

Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Front exterior of Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Entrance area and back view of Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Main dining area at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Courtesy of Frilu)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Main dining area at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Courtesy of Frilu)
Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
The bar at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)

The VIBE

Overall, it has the perfect date night VIBE. The kind of place I would take a date I was trying to impress, trying to get out of the dog house, or a celebratory dinner with a special someone. Maybe even if I was trying to wow my parents or friend who’s in town and into these types of culinary experiences. If you’re looking for comfort or home cooked food. This isn’t it. I might add though, that it’s also not pretentious or stuck up vibe, as some would describe most fine dining restaurants.

There was a great mixed crowd in the room. Some looked nervous, maybe on a first date. Others laughed as they cheers… and others looked like regulars that walk over to check out the new seasonal menu (ok yes not a guess, we overheard that scenario at the table next to us).

Frilu restaurant toronto thornhill - View the VIBE
Individual gender neutral bathroom’s at Frilu restaurant in Thornhill, just north of Toronto. (Photo: Steven Branco for View the VIBE shot on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro)

Have you been? Let us know what you think below, and tag us in your photos, use #TorontoVIBE, or slip them into our DMs @ViewtheVIBE for a chance to be featured online and on our social.

Review Scorecard
  • Food Quality
  • Food Timeliness
  • Food Creativity
  • Decor
  • Drink Quality
  • Drink Creativity
  • Service
  • Location
4.4

Overall VIBE

The perfect date night VIBE. The kind of place I would take a date I was trying to impress, get out of the dog house, or celebratory dinner with a special someone. Maybe even if I was trying to wow my parents or friend who’s in town and into these types of culinary experiences. If you’re looking for comfort or home cooked food. This isn’t it.

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