When we first tried Small Town Food Co. a couple weeks after they unlocked the latches and let patrons in, we knew we’d found our new Parkdale local. We became obsessed with the spreadable Kangaroo Meatballs, infatuated with the spiced Scotch Egg, and harboured salacious thoughts towards the Belly (miso-glazed pork belly with watermelon and watermelon radish).
On our second visit, we explored the cocktail list like an archaeologist does a hidden tomb: the Checkered Past is slightly sweet yet has a basil-tinged finish on the palate; Madame Harrison is a woman we’ve never met, but we gladly sipped this cocktail in her honour; the Small Town Sour was anything but lip-pursing, balanced out with the cinnamon and clove-infused bourbon.
Our third visit was by way of invitation; Small Town Food Co. has refined its menu offerings for the season ahead, and naturally we had no qualms about trying some of the new fare. (Though we shed a sole, salty tear for the dearly departed Kangaroo Meatballs.)
What we love about Small Town Food Co. is Chef Tallis Voakes’ exploration in the kitchen. Little is left to tradition on the shareable plates that pass the counter. Foie gras in Pot Stickers? Why not? Duck Pogos? The new frontier of handheld eats, we say!
Even the Fish & Chips, carried over from Small Town Food Co.’s first menu, are a sight to behold. Seared Albacore tuna with edamame puree, a dilly tartar sauce, and housemade chips can easily be stacked off the shareable platter to create a fish n’ chips nacho.
Chef Tallis has a way with coaxing the natural beauty out of the ingredients he employs. The Tartare of Deer, for instance, is far from gamey – the minced raw meat is succulent and silken. For his Crispy Cauliflower, Chef Tallis uses truffle flavour sparingly – there’s a slight hint of the treasured gourmet goods, but the aioli is anything but overpowering.
With a clever mix of approachable yet unique dishes, expertly crafted cocktails (we’d expect nothing less from a team that boasts Cameron Hutton from the Drake), and pricing that allows for hours of sharing and sipping while letting the world pass you by, Small Town Food Co. is an undeniable brute force on the always-evolving Queen West strip.
Have you been to Small Town Food Co. yet? Share your thoughts below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.