Check out the updated Joanne Kates Top 100 Toronto Restaurants for 2014!
Musical chefs has been the name of the game: When Acadia’s chef Matt Blondin left for Momofuku in spring 2012, Acadia owner Scott Selland stole Splendido chef Patrick Kriss. But fear not for the splendours of Splendido: Chef Tommy McHugh, who cut his teeth under Joël Robuchon in London and was sous-chef at Nota Bene, has taken Splendido’s food to a new high. The deceptively simple menu is a poor descriptor of McHugh’s gastro-complexities: His mushroom salad is a symphonic triumph of multiple woodland mushrooms zinged with sweet from Jerusalem artichoke chips and sour from pickled wild leeks. He cleverly roofs unctuous pumpkin agnolotti with espresso foam (!). His cold-smoked Irish organic salmon is innovation incarnate, a great play on seafood: squid ink foam, blackened cuttlefish and cuttlefish tempura. And for the carnivore, there is a ruby red striploin marbled like an Italian cathedral, juicy like a starlet, and decorated with a carnival of flavours: smoked brisket as rich as pork belly, baby veg, both bordelaise and béarnaise sauce, and a ribbon of onion jam puree. For dessert one ought not miss the deconstructed entertainment of chocolate, caramel and peanut cake/mousse/ice cream and crumble. Now if only they would fix the service: One evening we wait half an hour for bread while the maitre d’ is fawning over regulars at the next table.