Food Net­work’s David Rocco adds star power to Ital­ian hot spot Oretta

Plus King Street’s swishy new Ital­ian eatery and a Ger­man beer hall

Midtown Post - - Contents -

“You’re go­ing to eat food. That’s all I can prom­ise,” says Chris White of Broth­ers Food & Wine, the res­tau­rant he and his good friend Jonathan Ni­co­lau opened above Bay sub­way sta­tion. The two have been work­ing on de­vel­op­ing the idea for a res­tau­rant al­most from the time they met. Both were work­ing on the bar side of the busi­ness: Ni­co­lau at the Swan, in its hey­day, and White at Ter­roni on Queen West and Park­dale’s Elec­tric Mud BBQ, where he was man­ager. At Broth­ers, Ni­co­lau runs the kitchen with White found be­hind the 16 plus–seat bar.

Broth­ers’ food tends away from com­posed, full-meals-on-a-plate in favour of meat and a veg­etable com­ple­ment on a plate with sides or­dered sep­a­rately. Even though the menu changes con­stantly (some­thing will ro­tate on the daily), they print a menu to help put guests at ease.

“Crit­i­cal thought plays a huge role,” White says of how Ni­co­lau de­signs dishes. Carpac­cio, in some form or an­other, will al­most al­ways earn a spot on the menu, be­ing one of Ni­co­lau and White’s favourite ways to start a meal. The sim­ple-sound­ing com­bi­na­tion of mack­erel, mint and pick­led egg­plant has been a main­stay for their first three months of busi­ness.

To em­pha­size the es­sen­tial com­bi­na­tion with food, they put “wine” in the name of the res­tau­rant. The shift­ing wine list is put to­gether by som­me­lier Court­ney Steb­bings, who comes to Broth­ers after stints at Lyle’s and the fa­mous River Café in London, Eng­land. So­cial me­dia pop­u­lar­ity has stretched the ca­pac­ity of the 30-seat room, but White stresses how im­por­tant lo­cal reg­u­lars are to the busi­ness and, although they do take reser­va­tions, they try to hold back a few seats for walk-ins (Broth­ers Food & Wine, 1240 Bay St., 416-804-6066). — David Ort After months of wait­ing and many teaser pho­tos on In­sta­gram, Oretta has fi­nally opened its doors. The noted trio be­hind the res­tau­rant is Food Net­work celebrity chef David Rocco, restau­ra­teur Sal­va­tore Mele (Capoc­ac­cia Trat­to­ria) and ex­ec­u­tive chef Chris­tian Fon­tolan.

The multi-func­tional res­tau­rant has a quick-ser­vice counter and café, in ad­di­tion to the main din­ing room, which has been built around a cen­tre­piece bar. Com­mute De­sign (By­b­los, Lit­tle Sis­ter) is re­spon­si­ble for the in­te­rior de­sign, which fea­tures pops of teal and pas­tel pink along with plenty of brass ac­cents in a very tall and stately room. The up­stairs will serve as a pri­vate events space, com­plete with a kitchen stu­dio where David Rocco may be spot­ted from time to time.

Chef Fon­tolan leads the main kitchen. The menu is di­vided into shar­ing plates, apps, pizza, pasta and mains. The frito misto ($14) fea­tures smelts, cala­mari and scal­lops lightly coated in a gluten-free batter. Bur­rata ($14) is served atop a mix­ture of pick­led banana pep­pers, agrodolce car­rots, pis­ta­chios and herbs.

Pizza is done Ro­man-style; the Parmi­giana ($18) is topped with cherry tomato, fior di latte, egg­plant, sausage, Parm and basil. Pas­tas are made in­house and stretch from tra­di­tional ravi­oli to a pur­ple pasta, coloured with the aid of red cab­bage. As for dessert, the daily pas­try se­lec­tion pro­vides cus­tomers with a taste of ev­ery­thing ($16) (Oretta, 633 King St. W., 416-944-1932). — Yvonne Tsui From the own­ers of Kens­ing­ton Mar­ket’s Otto’s Berlin Döner comes Otto’s Bier­halle, a ca­sual Ger­man eatery in the for­mer Bris­tol space on Queen West.

“There’s a drink­a­bil­ity and pu­rity to Ger­man beer,” says Kon­rad Droeske, one of the five own­ers be­hind Otto’s Bier­halle. The own­ers’ love of all things Ger­man stemmed from the group’s ex­ten­sive world travel and love of elec­tronic mu­sic, which led to cre­at­ing a busi­ness that cu­rated pop-up raves. Dur­ing a pit stop in Berlin, they fell in love with Ger­many’s beer and street food.

Bar man­ager Adrian Murfin is largely re­spon­si­ble for the beer list at Otto’s Bier­halle. Lagers and wheat beers — two of the most well-known fam­i­lies of Ger­man beer — are well rep­re­sented on the list. There are cur­rently 24 beers on tap, in­clud­ing a bal­anced mix of Ger­man and lo­cal op­tions. Of these, 18 are per­ma­nent and six will ro­tate. They are priced by the 11-, 14- or 20-ounce glass. But it doesn’t stop with draft. There are an ad­di­tional 65 op­tions avail­able by the can or bot­tle, and that list will steadily grow.

Otto’s menu is meant for shar­ing. Tra­di­tional mains such as schwein­shaxe ($24) — crispy-skinned roasted pork hock — can be found on the menu. The Chou­croute Al­sace ($45) is a plat­ter laden with weis­s­wurst, roast pork belly, house pick­les, braised fen­nel and potato salad. Round things out with a Black For­est dac­quoise ($7) (Otto’s Bier­halle, 1087 Queen St. W., 416-901-5472). — Yvonne Tsui

Beef carpac­cio with enoki mush­rooms at Broth­ers

Clock­wise from top: Oretta’s bur­rata, its stately room, the chou­croute Al­sace plat­ter at Otto’s Bier­halle

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