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