First Look: The Feasting Room, a temporary nose-to-tail restaurant concept on College Street
By Jon Sufrin
From The Feasting Room's fifth course: seared and braised beef kidney with du Puy lentils (Images: Jon Sufrin)
These days, hip Toronto restaurants either temporarily pop up at under-the-radar locations or serve copious amounts of off-cut animal bits. The Feasting Room does both. The project of chef/owner Noah Goldberg and general manager Mathieu Dutan, this new restaurant will see tables at Little Italy’s The Orbit Room decked out in butcher paper, wine glasses and pimped-out offal for the next six months or so.
Having recently returned from separate journeys abroad — Goldberg just wrapped up a year-and-a-half long stint at Fergus Henderson’s St. John in London, while Dutan is fresh from Southeast Asia — the duo is fully committed to making a mark on Toronto’s food scene. Both are big nose-to-tail advocates, so The Feasting Room features a six-course blind tasting menu that stars a different beast every week.
As part of its May 24 soft opening, The Feasting Room put the spotlight on cow. Next week, it’ll feature pig and the week after that, when the restaurant officially opens, lamb. The night’s dishes are only hinted at by way of a numbered, morbidly cute illustration of the animal in question. The cow’s diagram had courses numbered off at the tail, the heart, the tongue and the udders (signifying dairy, though a dish based on udder would have been interesting), amongst other regions.
When we were there, the menu consisted of such creations as oxtail ravioli, beef heart salad and beef tongue fettuccini, wherein the tongue was chopped so that it was the same shape and nearly the same consistency as the pasta. These are predictable off-cuts, sure, but plated inventively.
The budding entrepreneurs hope that they’ll eventually be able to finance a permanent location. Between them, they have some heft: Goldberg, in addition to his work at St. John, has spent time at Lee Restaurant, DB Bistro Moderne and St. Lawrence Market’s Whitehouse Meats. Meanwhile, Dutan’s front of house experience includes stints at Bistro and Bakery Thuet and La Palette’s Kensington Market and Queen Street locations.
The Feasting Room takes over The Orbit Room for the next six months, roughly, from Thursday to Sunday, 5-10 p.m (the bar commences its regularly scheduled service after dinner). On Mondays, the restaurant holds a bit more sway: it’ll serve until last call, if possible. Either way, expect to be served by completely food-and-wine-obsessed hipster types.
During the soft-opening phase, reservations will be accepted for 20 guests maximum, then, by the official June 7 opening date, The Feasting Room will take up to 30-40 reservations, with some leeway for walk-ins.
The Feasting Room, 580a College Street, 647-785-3557. The six-course tasting menu is $65 without wine, $100 with