In Carpano’s old restaurant space, BruDa serves up European cuisine with local influences
By Meri Perra
BruDa's pissaladiere (all images by Meri Perra)
Neil Da Costa and Victor Brum, the co-owners of BruDa, a new European restaurant in the old Carpano space, say they opened their own business for lifestyle reasons, plain and simple. Both men are oozing experience. They’ve each worked in the profession for about 20 years, and say it was time to do their own thing. And so they started BruDa, (“Bru” from Brum and “Da” from Da Costa.)
The restaurant is about “sophisticated simplicity.” The classic wood décor is modest and elegant. The relatively small College storefront feels airy, comfortable and stylish.
“We didn’t want anything too flashy,” Brum says. “It’s why we went with wood.”
The food matches the décor. Brum calls it an “extremely unique European menu using local ingredients.” Options include local game and other items that are executive chef Gordon Calman’s take on traditional European dishes.
“For lack of a better term, its comfort food,” Brum says. “We stress the technique in which (the food) is made. Quality is achieved without a hefty price.”
One $12 lunch option is the pissaladière (pictured at top), which comes with cured tomatoes, olives and goat cheese. Calman calls it the “reverse of a normal pizza.” With a light crust and rich toppings, the effect is an opposite contrast between topping and crust. It comes with a side of greens.
The new world carbonara ($16 for lunch, $18 for dinner) is made with house-made pappardelle pasta, chantrelle mushrooms, serrano ham and topped with a duck egg.
“I’ve always loved carbonara,” Calman says, “Instead of the (traditional) richness on top, there’s a duck egg. It’s a fun way to do it.”
Suppliers are as local as possible. Many vegetables come from a West Lincoln farm, the duck eggs hail from Paisley, Ont. and the wild game always comes from Ontario. When we were there, the venison came from a farm in Sudbury.
The wine list, Brum says, is consciously Canadian, with other options thrown in for good measure. “I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself … I choose the wines more on their characteristics than their countries.”
With all their experience, Brum and DaCosta say they have worked together in the past, “down the street,” but won’t say where.
“It’s not a secret,” Brum says. “We don’t want to ride the coattails of other places.”
Fair enough. BruDa can stand on its own just fine.
BruDa, 492 College Street, 416-927-0222