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Colborne Lane - Toronto


GordonCooks
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Colborne Lane

Home of Toronto’s molecular wunderkind, Claudio Aprile, and where I ate my dinner last Saturday. The space is an edgy blend of old and new with distressed walls, antique looking light fixtures yet a modern bar with comfy, sleek stools and huge windows fore and aft to open the space. Having last eaten at Senses years ago with Chef Aprile at the helm, one meal being very good and he other being mediocre, I curious to see if Toronto’s newest buzz place would deliver. The menu features small to medium sized plates for you to compose your own tasting or they feature a tasting menu for you to indulge in. We showed up as walk-ins and took seating at the bar. The wine list is small but competent. Nice touches being a selection of Sake and a nice selection of wine available by quarto. The list was value priced as well - for a Canadian list that is.

(the pics are lousy, I apologize)

Tuna Sashimi + Tartare + ginger caviar + radish + yuzu + crispy garlic + shiso + cauliflower + frozen soy sauce powder

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Sashimi as good as I’ve had anywhere over delicate tartare. The secondary elements allowing you to make small and different morsels of food. The soy sauce powder was a very playful element.

Hibiscus and salt cured foie gras + apricot terrine + freeze dried apricots + warm brioche + spiced yoghurt + hibiscus puree

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The foie was a little understated – lacking in actual foie flavor and richness. The texture was akin to a foie mousse with a high butter content. The purees were fantastic though – what concentration of flavor!

Crispy Wokked Squid + caramelized peanut + asian pear + green peppercorn + Chinese sausage + grapefruit + mango

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I could have eaten a pound of this. Perfectly balance heat + sweet + salt. The squid was cooked perfectly – tender, yet lightly toothsome. The mango in the dish was a house made ketchup that lent a prefect amount of sweetness. Personal fave

Pumpkin gnudi + romesca + fresh pasta + reggiano + wilted greens

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Another incredible dish – Gnudi as light a feather with some wilted rapini under a sheet of fresh pasta, a very bright romesca sauce and shaved grano padano curls. A little dried olive as garnish and a tuile of reggiano parm. Personal fave

Beef Tenderloin + slow and soft poached egg + chorizo + fondant potato + smoked salt + steak sauce jelly + Yukon gold puree + mustard paper

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The beef was a little dry and the egg was slightly overcooked. If they did the egg sous vide, the yolk wasn’t as translucent as others I’ve had – maybe too high temp. The beef was marinated in soy and sake – the flavor was good but not spectacular. The potatoes are both outstanding and kudos with the mustard paper and steak sauce jelly.

Peking duck in two forms + asian pancake + preserved plums + tatsoi + spicy black bean

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The duck breast was very tender and succulent; the crispy skin was delicious as well. The plums were very good but the pancake was more like a regular pancake with sesame seeds. Didn’t go well with the other ingredients.

Desserts

Yuzu parfait + green tea and coconut tapioca + sesame cake + sweet red bean

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The light as air mousse surrounds the tapioca – very tasty. When this dish was presented, I was told that once I cut into the parfait the tapioca would ooze out and I would use the sesame cake to dip. It was firm and didn’t flow out but I love the flavor and texture nonetheless

Chocolate Bar + smoked cream + frozen chocolate powder + banana brulee + ice cream

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The chocolate was rich and intense flavor as was the chocolate powder. The banana and smoked cream were more of an afterthought and didn’t detract but didn’t really enhance. The banana was raw and bruleed on the end.

Lemon Tart + lemon verbena sorbet + citrus chamomile foam

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Good but not great. The lemon curd was nice and tart but I didn’t really care for the foam. The chamomile and citrus were clashing for some reason

A nice little finish was a frozen tablet on the Chef’s take iced coffee (it's the invisible thing in the washed out picture)

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Frozen in liquid nitrogen, a milk coated tablet of coffee that melted in your mouth. It came out over a halloweeny vessel filled with liquid nitrogen as well. The server was a riot "Please don't eat what's in the bowl beneath, you'll die"

In conclusion, it was a great meal. Compared to the meal at Canoe the previous night – I received much more for less – more food, more wine, more service, and more culinary talent. A must revisit and will definitely do the kitchen table next time.

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Thanks Gordon for the report.

I'm glad to hear that they've worked on the improving the elements for dishes (i.e. using soy sauce powder versus granita for the sashimi starter; serving the chocolate bar vs. the chocolate soup) and cooking their duck better compared to the dinner I had there in April. I'm also glad you had the frozen parfait as I found it quite pleasurable when it was a lavendar tower.

Suppose there's also some truth behind the wait for new or hyped restaurants before the public should go. Perhaps my dinner there was premature as my impression was less than enthusiastic? (Either way, I suppose my meals with the MG superstars outside of T.O. have spoiled me.)

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Thanks Gordon for the report. 

I'm glad to hear that they've worked on the improving the elements for dishes (i.e. using soy sauce powder versus granita for the sashimi starter; serving the chocolate bar vs. the chocolate soup) and cooking their duck better compared to the dinner I had there in April.  I'm also glad you had the frozen parfait as I found it quite pleasurable when it was a lavendar tower.

Suppose there's also some truth behind the wait for new or hyped restaurants before the public should go.  Perhaps my dinner there was premature as my impression was less than enthusiastic?  (Either way, I suppose my meals with the MG superstars outside of T.O. have spoiled me.)

Looking at your pics, I'm jealous of your cheese course :biggrin:

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Gordon,

Great report. Been umming and arghing over whether to go next time we are in TO. Loved his cooking at Senses and from your pictures and description think its time for a visit.

Sadly due to schedules that isnt till the new year now. But it does give me something to look forward too.

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I find cheese courses a waste of money.

Granted its nice to have some great cheese at the end of a great meal, however...They are upcharging you on what, finding the cheese and cutting it for you?

Give me a break, go to Global Cheese in Kensington or Whole foods even for that matter and you can find some amazing cheeses and make your own cheese plate when you get home!

My $.02 ;)

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  • 1 month later...

I somewhat agree sadistick about buying your own cheese for when you get home, but the same could be said about wine I suppose - they find it and pour it for you. Also, we must not forget that it is expensive for a restaurant to keep a good cheese inventory at perfect ripeness.

Almost got into Colborne last time I was in TO, will certainly be going on my next visit in March. Thanks for the pictures.

Marc Lepine

Atelier Restaurant

Ottawa

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  • 4 years later...

I ate there about six months ago. It was pretty good, though there were some elements to dishes that didn't work. The fiery jalapeno in the chimi churri destroyed the lamb flavour in one of the main courses, and a few courses were a little bland, though there were some cool ideas and flavours on the plates. It's fairly reasonably priced from what I can remember.

James.

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