A few years back I wrote about my favourite neighbourhood restaurant, Brothers Food and Wine. It is was a 30 seat restaurant with Christopher White in the front of the house and Chef Jonathan Nicolau in the back of the house. They have added a new team member now, Julie Hyde.
It was an under the radar spot that won awards and accolades for the short time they were there. When I heard they closed I went into mourning. It had a limited menu and items could change daily or weekly depending on what was fresh and available. The food for the most part didn’t disappoint and it was like walking into the “cheers” bar, where everyone knew your name.
They have recently opened Restaurant 20 Victoria, an even smaller space, at just 20 seats plus a (recently opened) patio that can seat about 14, which features a rotating tasting menu. Most of the space is taken up by an open kitchen. The chefs get the best views for once. We dined outside on a beautiful night, under white open tents, with white tablecloths.
At the new restaurant, they no longer offer la carte choices, but rather a set tasting menu, which still has a focus on seasonal ingredients. I assume you can give the kitchen advance warning on any allergies or dislikes. Otherwise, the menu is set. Another change is your table is yours for the duration of the evening. The five or so courses are spread out and you don’t feel rushed. Now only a handful of people will get the honour to dine at this hotly anticipated restaurant, and you must book well in advance, but a warning, it is near impossible to get through the phone lines. Also, I certainly would not choose to eat here before a movie or theatre, because you won’t make the curtain.
Personally, I prefer to order a la carte, and order what appeals to me, but I am sure it is much easier for the kitchen now to serve one menu and focus on quality. Everything was tasty, and the highlight of our dinner was definitely the polenta with chanterelles and lots of butter.
There was only one cocktail on offer, and a decent curated wine list with a lot of selections from Ontario.
They are serving up something many other establishments lack, and that is genuine hospitality.
Welcome back and may the force be with you.