I remember when Ossington was a run down street full of derelict, neglected stores. This was before the spread of gentrification and it becoming a restaurant row. One of the first spots to open around 9 years ago, before Ossington became hip, was a place called Foxley Bistro and Bar. I remember having a great meal there but for some reason I never returned, although I did many times to Ossington. You know, there was always something new opening to try out. Well guess what, Foxley’s hasn’t lost its mojo. In fact, it’s as good as ever. Located just south of Dundas on the east side at 207 Ossington, this low-key, neighbourhood gem still run by Tom Thai serves delectable South Asian fare. The place hasn’t changed in 9 years, it is still a shabby-chic, casual place that seats around 60 people (from my guess), including the patio. They still don’t take reservations, so I advise to get here early as it gets packed. I think sitting in the charming back patio, weather permitting, is THE place to be.
The drinks and desserts are not that inspiring, but the food is a wonderful melting pot of cuisines from Vietnam, Thailand, South America, Italy and even a little Canadian. This is a place to share plates, and if you go with more than two people (we did not) you can sample more of the dishes. There were so many interesting choices on the menu. A standout for me was the Spicy Crispy Shrimps with Jalapeño and Garlic. Order with a side of steamed rice to sop up the sauce and help absorb some of the spice. The Tempura Pacific Oysters Hand Roll Maki was also a hit, it is one of Toronto’s great dishes. Foxley is known for their raw dishes, and the Arctic Char Ceviche with Green Apple and Ginger has become a signature dish. The Blue Crab And Avocado Salad was good but could be improved if it didn’t come ice cold from the fridge. I expect it is a space limitation issue here. We ordered one of the daily specials of baby back ribs in a sweet and spicy kafir glaze. This was the only part of my meal I did not enjoy as it was way too garlicky for me. On the other hand, our Lamb and Duck Prosciutto Dumplings were tasty and the skins not at all greasy. I noticed a lot of tables ordering the Baked Portobello Mushroom with Gorgonzola and Fontina Cheese as well as the Kale Salad with Pecorino Toscano and Lemon Dressing and also a lot of stewed lamb curries going by. Tom’s food is multi layered and very fragrant, his cooking is quite complex and ambitious. People tell me that the place has remained consistently good. It amazes me how he can maintain this quality and the prices are pretty reasonable too. We ate very well for $70 before taxes and drinks. I think Foxley’s remains as busy and beloved as ever because of the spot on execution of the dishes – the are balanced but screaming with flavour, and the prices are moderate yet the food is so interesting. So even with all the competition on Ossington, Foxley’s is here to stay.