Always on the lookout for a good spot for weekend brunch, I stopped by the new and very attractive restaurant, Bacchanal at 60 Sudbury Street, in the ever-growing Liberty Village. The restaurant seats about 100 people, including the bar and a room that could be closed off for a private event, and boasts a picture window into the kitchen, showing the pastry chefs at work.
This beautifully designed space is done in blues and teal, and mustard yellow, with velvet upholstered chairs, and brass fixtures. There are lots of picture windows, bringing in natural light. One memorable wall of the restaurant was done by animation artist Ray XU, and represents many of Toronto landmarks and icons, such as Honest Ed’s, the Zanzibar and our pesky raccoons. The restrooms also have animated rose colour artwork that can best be described as aliens having an orgy? Let’s just say the place combines modern, fun and industrial elements to it.
The menu offers an updated, contemporary take on traditional French-inspired fare. For the most part, I found the food to be well prepared, in an attractive way and quite flavourful.
The highlight of the meal is definitely the breads and pastries. The pastry chef is Cori Murphy who used to be at Canada’s number one restaurant, Alo. The chef makes everything in-house and Cori delivers a product that sets it apart from other bakers in this city. What a coup for Bacchanal.
The chef and part owner is Luke Donato of Campagnolo and Lachlan Dennis of Le Select Bistro.
There are lots of classics on the menu, like a very good steak and frites, pâté, croque monsieur, duck, escargot, fish dishes, omelet, and the like. More contemporary dishes are a wonderful lobster salad, and a colourful shakshouka. We ordered everything on the pastry side, from a crispy baguette served with creamy butter, to a stellar canelle, a light as air chocolate croissant and an out of this world pastry that is similar to a cinnamon roll, but better. The piece de resistance is the Paris Brest, best described as a donut on steroids. Originally made in 1910 to commemorate a bicycle race between Paris and the city of Brest in Brittany. It is a choux pastry shaped like a wheel and filled with a hazelnut/praline buttercream. This version is most intriguing and indulgent – I highly recommend it.
I can’t speak for dinner here as I haven’t been yet, but if you are looking for a relaxed lunch, with hospitable, although slowish service, in a pleasant atmosphere with food that has variations of delightful and contemporary bistro fare, then I think you will be pleased.