I never thought I would be writing about a new restaurant opening during the COVID-19 pandemic since so many establishments are struggling just to stay afloat during these trying times. But I’m thrilled to announce the opening of a brand-new gem called Pompette at 597 College Street, at the corner of College and Clinton, which was previously the Capitol Trattoria. It is located directly across from the shuttered Trattoria Giancarlo.
The new co-owners are a talented crew from France, with quite the provenance. The chef, Martine Bauer, has cooked for the prime minister of France and her husband Jonathan Bauer is in charge of the wine cellar. He previously trained as a sommelier at the Strasbourg School of Hospitality, then worked at the only Relais and Chateaux in Mauritius. From there, he won the title of best young sommelier in France, and then joined the reopening team at the Royal Monceau in Paris. After his tenure, he teamed with Daniel Rose of Coucou in NY (check my archives on that review), as a wine director of his restaurants in Paris. In 2014 he won the title of best sommelier in France. Maxine Hoerth, trained at the Strasbourg school of Hospitality, before he worked at the George V in Paris (where he met his Columbian wife Andrea), as well as the Bristol hotel, and specialized in their bar program.
France’s loss is Toronto’s gain. Combining classic with contemporary, along with warm hospitality and a charming vibe, this restaurant has all the elements that people desire. Hence the name, Pompette, which loosely translates to ‘being in a blissful state.’
When they opened in May at the height of the pandemic, they were just doing takeout. Now, thankfully their charming patio, which seats up to 42 people, is open, as well as their dining room. Grateful that the summer has had delightful weather, the majority of people are opting to use the patio. They use mobile chalkboard menus, and although the menu is small and limited, everything is house-made, and the menu changes daily. They use locally sourced products wherever possible. The rustic sourdough bread with salty cultured butter from Quebec is fabulous. Tomatoes were at the height of their season when we were there and the tomato dish with vanilla beans and lime was outstanding. Sliced ham in a tarragon brown butter sauce with cremini mushrooms, or some exquisite cheese selections from Quebec and Ontario served with honey and a homemade chili jam and fennel crisps was also memorable. As well, we enjoyed a pâté en croûte, with pickles and some grainy mustard. The chicken dish was cooked to perfection, served with Swiss chard and fingerling potatoes. For now, they were offering just two desserts, that also changes daily. Ours was a pastry chou filled with a pistachio creme.
Plates and silverware were changed with each course, which is big bonus points for me. The wine list is large for such a tiny restaurant, with mostly old-world selections, as well as a fair amount of Ontario wines as well.
It is so refreshing to see a young, dedicated staff and owners, who take pride in what they are doing, are deeply knowledgeable and offer a wonderful and genuine culinary experience in a casual and delightful setting.
Closed Monday and Tuesday.