Beaconsfield Village, Toronto
Note: The Libertine kitchen has now closed.
Last Thursday we got a call to check out the new and improved Libertine, some of you may know the place I speak of, a flashing tarot card sign is all that marks its location on Dundas Street.
It was a Zomato Meetup designed to showcase their new food and cocktail menus; the evening started off with their Mac n Cheese Balls with a chipotle sriracha sauce on the bottom, topped with wild garlic and cheese sauce followed by a Charcuterie Board with Prosciutto Cotto, Guanciale, Capicollo, Spicy Sopressata, Parmigiano, marinated mushrooms, fried kale, crostini and a tomato and rosemary jam.
The Mac and cheese balls were fantastic, so creamy and crunchy and the sauces worked perfectly with everything.
After those starters the mains started to come out, a Pork & Potato Slaw; it was house smoked pork, potato skin chips, bbq chips, pickled ginger, green onion and avocado crema all tossed in a soy ginger lime vinaigrette.
I liked this dish because it was full of luscious pulled pork with a great dressing, texturally I think the crispiness of the chips got lost due to the sauce and would have like to have them sitting on top to get some nice crunch but that’s me being picky.
Then to showcase their menu depth the next two dishes were vegan; a coconut & pecan arancini ball; it was held together by a soy ricotta made in house all topped with a gochujuang and almond butter sauce and a Falafel Blini consisting of a chickpea based blini, cinnamon and date jam, house made falafel, pickled beets and radish, bitter melon candy served with a fennel cumin tahini.
The aranchini was good, it helped solidify the fact that vegan doesn’t need to be super healthy or just French fries, it was a well crafted dish with a great sauce, and I just wanted more of it.
The falafel blini was amazing, the dish was expertly put together with the right textures, the right flavours and the right size; again I really love sauce and would have liked a little more but that’s all my personal preference.
Even after all this they had one dish remaining, their Gnocchi Poutine, fried gnocchi, root vegetable gravy, a cheddar and parmigiano cheese blend that was garnished with green onion and fried shallots. I loved the fried shallots on top and the cheese mix with the gravy was great, the downfall for me was the gnocchi, it was a great concept but I think the gnocchi spent a few too many minutes in the fryer.
Along with all of this we were treated to 3 expertly crafted cocktails. Their queen bitch (named after the David Bowie song), a classic negroni and a fantastic whisky sour.
Creatively The Libertine has a fantastic cocktail list with real winners, personally, the Cool Mine and Loyalist do it for me, anything whisky based and you’ve got me hooked.
As for the food, with such an extensive vegan selection and amazing concepts I have no doubt that with a small amount of fine tuning they will be a go to spot for great bites and extraordinary cocktails.