CULI­NARY DREAM TEAM?

Craig Hard­ing’s amaz­ing Mediter­ranean menu is a feast for the senses, but what’s go­ing on with the ser­vice?

Richmond Hill Post - - Contents -

Joanne Kates bites into An­ndore House ho­tel’s buzzy new resto, Con­stan­tine

I am rarely con­fused by a restau­rant. But Con­stan­tine has me mys­ti­fied. What sort of crea­ture is it?

At first glance, the place is 100 per cent down­town hip­ster. It's hard to find a sign out­side, which is a sure in­di­ca­tor of wannabe cool. Be­cause if you’re cool, you al­ready know where it is. And if you don’t know where it is, you’re not cool. This al­lows the restau­rant to serve the so­cial func­tion of mak­ing you feel cool if you make it in­side. Which is an im­por­tant func­tion of the mod­ern Toronto restau­rant: Con­fer­ring sta­tus.

In­side the place, sta­tus con­tin­ues to be con­ferred by its beauty. It’s a big resto (145 seats) care­fully di­vided into in­ti­mate spa­ces, with a huge open kitchen as cen­tre­piece. Il­lu­mi­nated shelves with white vases lighten the sexy dark, and velour ban­quettes and walls both dampen sound and lend luxe. As does the menu, a mag­i­cal mys­tery tour of Italy and the Mid­dle East, Mi­lan in­flected with Ankara. The name is a ref­er­ence to Con­stantino­ple, the cap­i­tal city of the Ro­man/Byzan­tine em­pire, which is now Is­tan­bul.

Once the food starts ar­riv­ing, it’s clear that this kitchen can de­liver. And how could it not, with such lin­eage? The new An­ndore House ho­tel brought in chef Craig Hard­ing of Cam­pag­nolo and the de­li­cious new La Palma, to helm the cui­sine of Con­stan­tine.

But here’s the part I don’t un­der­stand. These peo­ple spent a

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