Trinity Bellwoods, Toronto
Note: Furlough has now closed.
I walked into the Furlough on national cheeseburger day a few weeks ago but to my dismay they didn’t have any left; after perusing the menu I left with a plan in my head to come back with more people to try 1-6 of their dishes.
The Furlough has a very laid back and cozy environment; dimly lit, wooden furnishings with splashes of leather and old school glassware and china all painting a portrait of a classic speakeasy with, in my opinion, a touch of French influence. One thing that I did find surprising was the open plan kitchen. You could see everything that was being done as well as feel the heat; safe to say I’ve always been fan of it although this would seem to be the first I’ve encountered in Toronto so far.
We sat deciding on what to eat; with so many choices we had a fair few disagreements but settled on a variety of dishes. For starters we ordered the lobster on toast and their beet salad (this was clearly not my choice) while for mains we ordered the mushroom risotto, the trout and the steak, obviously.
Now the restaurant was quite dim and I really like taking good photo’s so the open kitchen was a real winner for me, I really liked the lighting and the ability to get action shots of the kitchen. This one of the lobster toast is the perfect example.
The entrée’s arrived shortly after I took that photo; I knew in my heart the lobster toast would be great so I decided to start with the beet salad, it was a trio of beets served with candied walnuts, dill goats cheese and arugula; a great cluster of flavours but I found the salad was more or less too simple with the ingredients being too scarce. Overall, it was more of a “this is okay” salad rather than a “wow, now that’s a salad” salad.
The lobster toast did not disappoint; a buttery, perfectly cooked lobster topped with pickled shallots and a Bernaise that kept you salivating and wanting more. While the size was questionable the flavour was not; it was by the most satisfying piece of toast I have had this year.
After a short discussion on typical Canadian winter wear the mains were ready; I once again approached the kitchen and re arranged as needed.
After taking my seat again I mixed the risotto and started with that; it was creamy and cooked al dente but it needed more cheese; the mushrooms were the standout and any bite with them was great but the rice on its own was definitely lack lustered; was the texture and consistency were spot on the seasoning was very meager.
Next I went for the steak; served as a classic steak frites it was a nice and fatty striploin and had a fantastic beefy flavour; the fat really helped keep it tender, even during the unfortunate overcooking from medium rare to medium at some points (my picture shows the best of it). We were all also in agreement that the steak was heavily under seasoned and with no table salt to compensate it was slightly disappointing.
Lastly the Trout, served with arugula pesto, kale salad and purple potatoes; an outstanding dish with all the element working together harmoniously. The fish cooked to perfection with a crisp skin to top it off; we definitely saved the best for last.
We also ordered two desserts, the Furlough bar and the apple in filo pastry (I can’t remember the name for the life of me); I wasn’t a fan of the Bar but the apple pastry was amazing. Definitely something I want to get again.
I have mixed feelings about the Furlough, the service was good, the atmosphere was welcoming, warm and cozy and their cocktails are great; unfortunately the food was hit and miss with the misses being the most embedded in my memory.
Flavour – 6.9
Tenderness – 7.6
How well it’s cooked – 7.3
Overall – 7.3