This Fall, Visa Infinite cardholders got a chance to book exclusive dining experiences. From shining new talents to revered culinary legends, many participated in this popular event. This happened all across Canada and I jumped on the bandwagon once again so I could revisit one of my favourite Toronto restaurants, Brothers Food and Wine at 1240 Bay Street. I knew this was going to be an extraordinary evening, and I was not disappointed. There is a reason they were voted the Number One New Restaurant in Toronto Life last year …
Christopher White graciously took care of the front of the house while his business partner and co-owner, Chef Jonathan Nicolaou’s dynamic cooking was happening in the back of their tiny restaurant. They offered a six course tasting menu paired with wines from Halpern Enterprises. This one day extravaganza had three seatings, lunch, late afternoon and dinner. The event was completely sold out, and if you were lucky enough to get a seat you were treated to an outstanding meal. Usually, when I go for a tasting meal, there are standouts but I don’t like every course, but on this occasion, it was an insanely good meal from beginning to end.
We were off to a great start with an excellent aperitif called Dylan’s Vermouth Spritz, which also contained Cointreau and prosecco.
First up was a plate of milk-fed suckling pig from a farm in Quebec, where animals are also fed coconut fat. The thinly sliced meat was topped with grain mustard and served with their amazing homemade sourdough bread. This was paired with a glass of Pol Roger NV Réserve Brut Champagne. The second course was sea bream crudo, blanketed with grapes, fennel, dill, green peppercorns, and yuzu. They served this dish with a glass of 2016 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Blanc Clos du Roy. Next up a delicate and mild butter poached Fogo Island cod, which was gingerly topped with tasty mussels and dressed with a beurre blanc sauce with a side of grilled tear drop cabbage. This dish had the perfect components. It was paired with s 2013 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Referts”.
If I had to pick a favourite course I would say the gnocchi alla Romana. It was pretty perfect – comprised of two large, delicate cauliflower gnocchi topped with a melange of mushrooms, such a maitake and lion’s mane which adorned this knockout dish. They poured a 2010 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Greves to accompany it.
They also served a creamy intermezzo of vegan blood orange ice cream.
By now I was getting full, but I made room for an outstanding Gaspor suckling belly from the St. Germaine region of Quebec, in the Laurentians. The pig was braized in its own juices with currants and served with romano beans and mustard greens. The skin tasted like a candied and crispy brûlée with a perfectly crunchy exterior yet the meat was moist and flavorful. This dish was paired with an earthy 2014 Jean Louis Chave Saint Joseph Offerus. To finish, we indulged with a slice of ricotta cheesecake, with a zabaione cream. This heavenly dessert was paired with a 1987 De Montal Grand Bas Armagnac. It was reminiscent of cognac, which for me was too strong. I would have preferred a dessert wine.
The evening was perfection and a real treat.
I highly recommend this experience that Visa holds every year. It was a memorable evening.