Furlough – Trinity Bellwoods, TO

Furlough
Trinity Bellwoods, Toronto
http://www.furloughtoronto.com/

Note: Furlough has now closed.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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After a short discussion on typical Canadian winter wear the mains were ready; I once again approached the kitchen and re arranged as needed.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Furlough Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miss Thing’s – Parkdale, TO

Miss Thing’s
Parkdale, Toronto
http://www.missthings.com/

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Recently opened on Queen St just west of Dufferin, Miss Things is one of the new “it” places of summer.

Walking in you’re greeted by an elegant and chic French influenced wood grain bar coupled with a large mural of flowers transporting you to a somewhat tropical island, safe to say its ambiance reflects the menu, classic dishes with a pan-Asian/tropical influence.

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We got quite carried away with talks of food, so much so that we hadn’t nailed down our order when our waitress came around. Given a couple more minutes to regroup we focused and classically over ordered. From start to finish we ordered the Lobster Bisque Ramen; the grilled squid; the fried chicken (of course), the Loco Moco and their signature, the pineapple fried rice.

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It didn’t take long before the food started hitting the table; first out the lobster bisque ramen, it was tiny, a kids serving size, but then again lobster is about flavour not portion size. Unfortunately the flavour of this particular bisque lacked any sort of depth and was completely lack lustered, my positives mostly come from the amount of lobster in the small bowl.

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Their Fried chicken, a spice dredged chicken served with a sweet Szechuan style dipping sauce and pickles was out next, reminiscent of an old school KFC coating, more about the flavour than the crunch it was an interesting take. The spices prominent but not over powering and their sauce was magnificent; a true balance of flavours, next time I order the fried chicken I want it tossed in the sauce because it took a good fried chicken to a great fried chicken. The only thing I didn’t like on the plate was the pickles, trying to maintain the pan-Asian concept they were soaked in various sauces which gave it a Kung pao chicken-esque flavour which didn’t match the rest of the dish.

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The last three dishes came out together, I first reached for a hollowed out pineapple filled with fried rice and topped with pieces of what turned out to be jackfruit; I had thought we had ordered pork however my friend made a mistake when ordering. I was not at all upset about the jackfruit, it was made superbly and my only problem with the whole combination was the exceedingly predominant sugariness of both the jackfruit and pineapple together.

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Next I tried the grilled squid, it was topped with spicy black bean and served with a green papaya and fennel slaw then finished with candied oranges. It was for me, the standout dish in terms of everything; the cooking was exquisite, the concept of sweet, tart and spicy altogether on a plate with the delicate squid was transcendent of simple but delightful cooking.

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Last was the Loco Moco and unfortunately was another disappointment, if not the most disappointing. The egg and mushrooms were quite simple and the rice, while flavourful was simply coconut rice. Finally the steak, a very overcooked flank served with their homemade A1 sauce which lent a tangy and bold flavour but on its own the steak was as flavourful as cardboard.

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Regrettably my meal at miss things was hit and miss; nevertheless I’ll be going back for the fried rice with pork and jackfruit together, I think the combination will be dynamite.

How well it’s cooked – 4.6

Flavour – 3.6

Tenderness – 4.8

Overall – 3.6

Miss Thing's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato