Last Monday, a group of bloggers and I were invited to dine at Mistura on Davenport. The owner Paolo Paolini dined with us and told us wonderful tales of his many years in the restaurant industry.
He was the original founder of Splendido, a benchmark restaurant in Toronto. Mistura opened in 1997. That is almost 20 years of existence! I don’t know many restaurants in Toronto have that lasted so long. It seems like most places rarely last 5 years nowadays.
We were welcomed with pre-dinner snacks of homemade charcuterie made by head chef Klaus Rohrich.
There was also crostini with eggplant and fresh herbs.
And another of Warm mushroom and gorgonzola.
I’m always unsure about pâté, but their Duck Liver Pâté & Mostarda was to die for. It was not heavy, and had a gentle sweetness. I could’ve had many of these if I didn’t have a full meal up ahead.
Last but not least (of the small bites) were these Crispy Gulf Shrimp and Cantaloupe Trusses. There was a hint of orange juice in the melon that helped it not overpower the shrimp. I loved delicate attention to flavour and textures throughout the meal.
Throughout the night we were treated to Prosecco and fine wines.
There was table side bread and dip with various kinds including Calabrese, Focaccia and flatbread.
The real dinner started with a gorgeous Sweet Corn Soup with roasted onion & crab salsa, corn croutons and crème fraîche on top. The soup itself had no cream but the corn was blended to a smooth silky texture. Paolini likes to focus on seasonal ingredients with an Italian influence of flavours. Corn may not be that popular in Italy, but the love and care they put into the soup really showed the influences of Italian cooking.
Our next antipasti was a this trio of Balsamic Glazed Lamb Ribs, Crispy Artichokes and Wile Board Agnolotti.
The Crispy Artichoke was fried to perfection, with each individual leaf coated with just the right amount of breading and blooming like a flower. It was not heavy and served with a gribiche of fresh herbs, gherkin, caper and boiled egg. People at our table said this was better than the ones they had in Greece!
The Balsamic Glazed Lamb Ribs were marinated for 3 days and slow cooked for many hours. They were fall off the bone and melted in my mouth. I wish I had an entire rack of them. It also came with a vegetable that had a bit of mint yogurt on it.
The last thing was an Agnolotti (like a ravioli) with wild board. On top was the delicious jus used for roasting, dried cherries and wilted greens.
The main course was a taste of two different things. On the left we had the a pan-seared Branzino with lemon scented bean salad, manila clams and olive oil poached cherry tomatoes.
The second was a Boneless Free Range Chicken with squash caponata, chesnut purée, roasted onions and sautéed spinach. There was also a fried piece of chicken skin.
I love how each individual ingredient is treated with care. Nothing felt like an afterthought. The fish and chicken was perfectly cooked. The vegetables each had their own flavour whether it was the hint of lemon, or the juiciness of the oil poached tomatoes.
Not entirely sure how I had room for dessert but how could I resist this Vanilla Panna Cotta with berries, strawberry meringue crumble and a crispy sugar tuille. This was to die for!
Dessert also came with a small glass of Vieni Dolce Piccante Graspa made in Beamsville, Ontario. It had a hint of chili but also a sweetness that made it less harsh than other “grappa” I have tried.
It was the perfect ending to a superb meal at Mistura.