You’d think that living but a six minute walk from a restaurant means that at least once I’d frequent it. Not the case. As a matter of fact, some of the best nearby restaurants in my ‘hood – Triple A Bar, Hawthorne, Nami, Mirto, Tom Jones – I’ve yet to do anything but glance inside. For shame, Adam, for shame. At least I can now cross Colborne Lane off the list…
Last night I moseyed on over to Claudio Aprile’s crown restaurant for a Winterlicious dinner; figuring at least now in case it was overrated I’d only be dropping a bill or so on the table and not the usual deuce that comes with a nine-course tasting meal. Simply put: It. Was. Stellar. Colborne Lane’s decor is raw yet artsy yet comfortably approachable. A great mix. And the service was attentive but not overbearing. (Most importantly, a strong Old Pal cocktail was brought over within two minutes of ordering.)
But enough about the ambiance et. al. Let’s get on to the food porn…
Two things you should know: first, eating a meal with me often means having to wait to nosh on your plate because I’ll be taking photos; second, eating a meal with me often means having to prep several forkfuls of your dish so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. (Read: I’m a greedy S.O.B.) Needless to say, I tried all six plates that graced our table. The tom yum soup was presented beautifully in the dish, with all the elements placed decoratively to see before the server poured the hot and sour-style broth overtop, allowing all components to marry.
The pickled Irish organic salmon came whimsically plated as a ring of flavour. Each bite brought a different nuance to the dish, with the salmon’s light taste becoming more and more pronounced with bits of radish, avocado cream, celery leaf, and a tangy creme fraiche – no mouthful provided the same flavour.
A piece of striploin was perfectly seared and vibrant pink inside. Just a slight hit of salt let the quality cut speak for itself, though it was nicely enhanced with a dollop of the velvety puree.
The braised pork belly was a total delight. Richly fatty with sweet and salty hints, its buttery bliss played well with the crispy chicharon. And FYI, maitake mushrooms need to be on more menus in this city.
Being the gentleman that I am, I let Ms. Zulla order the chocolate bar and I took on the “task” of eating the pumpkin flan. While both desserts were lovely, the chocolate bar deserves a poet’s attention as the best comparison we could make was Chunky Monkey on steroids. The chocolate itself was almost fudge-like, and with its cohorts – the banana ice cream, caramelized peanuts and syrupy black cherry – it reached a league of nom-nom-nom-ness I haven’t had in awhile.
Conversely, the pumpkin flan with lemon sour sorbet was a more subtly prepared dessert with the vibrancy of the sorbet providing the palatable kick to the pumpkin pie-spiced mold.
Needless to say, I’ll be back at Colborne Lane to indulge in Chef Aprile’s tasting menus. Were this Winterlicious meal an appetizer, it’s safe to say my appetite hath been whetted…