I can’t tell you how many times I have walked by this tiny nondescript spot at 1240 Bay Street just north of Bloor. Brothers Food and Wine is adjacent to the Bay subway entrance. I honestly never noticed it before and I live in the area. But I started hearing a buzz around town, when people asked me if I had a chance to try this restaurant. They didn’t hire a large marketing firm or go wild with social media. This is strictly a word of mouth place that has organically grown. My curiosity got the better of me and I tried to secure a reservation. It was completely booked all week and I had to beg to get a lunch reservation. This place is HOT!! And you have to get a reservation the old fashioned way…. horror, you have to actually call the restaurant or go there to reserve a spot. No OpenTable or Dine here.
This petite restaurant seats around 30 people. It is a narrow room with the majority of seats around the bar. The back of the restaurant has a few tables. The place is simple, casual and appealing to me. It reminds me of something you’d find in the East or West village of New York – a neighbourhood haunt that people flock to. They have a grey heavy curtain at the entrance to keep out the cold, which seems to do the trick. The back of the bar is lined in white tiles, and there are blond woods used throughout – it has a hipster feel to it. We saddled up to the bar and met very interesting people on either side of us. One couple were foodies and the others were wine aficionados.
Christopher White and Jonathan Nicolau, two humble and unpretentious looking guys run and own the place. They actually aren’t brothers but are good friends. Chris runs the front of the house (he cooked previously at Dandylion, one of my favourite restaurants) and Nicolau, the back. Jonathan Nicolau cooked previously at Bar Raval and Bar Isabel (also two favourites). The menu has a limited selection, four appetizers and four main courses plus one dessert. Items on the menu change frequently and some items could change daily. There is no formula to what they will prepare. The menu might reflect French, Californian, or Mediterranean food for instance. The emphasis is on fresh, local, simply prepared food. The menu changes on a whim, so you may not find a favourite dish again but you will certainly be surprised and pleased at the offerings. We enjoyed a wonderful beef tenderloin carpaccio topped with rhubarb, walnuts, and olives and dressed in a spicy Calabrian olive oil. We also had a mackerel dish served on a pickled eggplant and mint sauce. Both dishes were excellent. They serve wonderful bread along with a creamy salted butter that we also gobbled up. For our mains, we selected the sable dish done in a beurre blanc sauce with leeks. We also shared a tender and flavourful lamb rack, served with an olive tapenade and a side of mâché. We ordered a side of lemon potatoes to accompany the dish.
There was also a pasta selection as well as a pork to choose from. For dessert, you can either order a cheese course or a gateau Basque. The cake was fabulous, with a perfect crust and a not too sweet custard filling. They have a nice selection of wines by Sommelier, Courtney Stebbings. We went for a $10 glass of French Rosé that hit the spot. She will also suggest wines to match each course if you so desire.
This under-the-radar spot is a welcome addition to the Yorkville area. Book up to a month in advance. They are open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday 12-11pm. Next fall this may include Sunday dinner as well.