Fan­tas­tic fare at Figo (ser­vice not so much)

Plus the food at Par­cae im­presses (but the squir­relled-away lo­ca­tion makes this hard to find)

Richmond Hill Post - - Food -

295 Ade­laide St. W. $100 Din­ner for two If Charles Khabouth and his side­kick Hanif Harji aren’t the busiest guys in town, dunno who is. I can’t keep track of all their bars, clubs and restos. From Pa­tria and Wes­lodge to So­ciété and By­b­los, throw in a few big clubs and th­ese guys are making Oliver and Bonacini and Mark McEwan look petite.

The new­est mem­ber of the Khabouth/Harji fam­ily is Figo on Ade­laide Street West. It’s un­for­tu­nate that Figo is across the street from Hoot­ers, that brand not be­ing so ap­pe­tiz­ing (to some of us) across a plate glass win­dow. Maybe some cur­tains? It’s a pretty room, light and curvy, the wine cup­board’s glass boxes the shape of church win­dows and a large tile arch fram­ing the open kitchen.

My mom used to say that, if I couldn’t say some­thing nice, I oughtn’t to say any­thing at all. Clearly she didn’t know she was rais­ing a restau­rant critic. So sorry Mom, but could some of the serv­ing staff have mi­grated south­ward across the street? ’Cause their ser­vice skills range form me­diocre to ap­palling, so we’re won­der­ing if maybe they have other, ahem, at­tributes.

It starts with the maître d’, who, with the restau­rant three quar­ters empty, seats us at a small round ta­ble in the mid­dle of the through­way from kitchen to back room rather than a nice big ta­ble against the wall. Then there’s or­der­ing the wine. Which of the reds is the fullest bod­ied? She doesn’t know. She con­sults her cheat sheet. She still isn’t sure.

But the food is fan­tas­tic. There is su­perb salad of creamy bur­rata with pressed can­taloupe and huck­le­ber­ries. A suite of house­made ri­cotta apps with house-made cros­toni and di­verse gar­nishes. I favour the one with vin cotta (cooked down caramelize­d wine) and toasted pine nuts. Very au­then­tic. There is im­pec­ca­ble raw sea bream jazzed with chili and basil. Fab­u­lous thin-crust piz­zas, of which the sim­ply dubbed mush­room top­ping is just about mind-blow­ing in a town with too much great pizza. It’s crem­ini and maitake mush­rooms with nicely caramelize­d onion, ca­cio­cav­allo cheese, su­per-thin shaved potato, a big bou­quet of raw wa­ter­cress and the scent of truf­fle. Divine!

Of course the pasta is house­made. I like the tortelli, which are small­ish ravi­oli stuffed with lemon­spiked arugula and ri­cotta in but­ter sauce. They go great with salad of black kale with chilies and crispy gar­lic. What doesn’t go so great is hav­ing all the food de­liv­ered to the (small­ish) ta­ble at once. The maître d’ walks by sev­eral times dur­ing our din­ner but never pauses his per­am­bu­la­tion ei­ther to check in with us or to no­tice how we’re be­ing served. Pity.

We ask what the chocolate dessert is, and the server says there’s a quenelle on top. Which she de­fines as a mascarpone (pro­nounced like corn pone) foot­ball. Es­coffier would be turn­ing in his grave to hear the great gos­samer dumpling of la grande cui­sine française re­ferred to as a foot­ball.

So we or­der the panna cotta. Yet a dif­fer­ent server de­liv­ers that. This one is in such a hurry that as I ask her where the el­der­berry jelly is, she has al­ready turned heel and hur­ried away. Thank good­ness I can find the el­der­berry jelly all by my­self. It’s a golden layer atop the panna cotta, it­self a quiv­er­ing frag­ile mass of cooked cream and el­der­berry jelly, a so­phis­ti­cated not-too-sweet bene­dic­tion on the Ital­ianate splen­dour of the panna cotta.

But still they put a foot wrong. In a restau­rant that’s still not so full, wouldn’t you think some­one, any­one, might bid us farewell on de­par­ture? Not a chance. Is this a new mean­ing of hos­pi­tal­ity?

Clock­wise from left: the pretty room at Figo, the thin-crust mush­room pizza, Par­cae’s sump­tu­ous bread pud­ding

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.